After their historic mixed team event gold in badminton, India’s singles stars were untroubled on the opening day of their respective campaigns on Wednesday in Gold Coast, decimating the opponents who stood in their way to progress to the round of 16.
Fit-again top seed P V Sindhu led the charge as Indian shuttlers made short work of their respective rivals, living up to the proverbial “not breaking a sweat” mantra against weaker opponents.
Sindhu, who sat out of the gold-winning team campaign because of an ankle injury, took just 18 minutes to oust Fiji’s Andra Whiteside 21-6 21-3 in her first match of the competition.
“It has been pretty easy today. I hope that it continues tomorrow. I am better and totally fine, so it is really exciting,” she said and thanked the crowd for making her feel at home in a foreign land with its vociferous support.
Second seed Saina Nehwal, despite being exhausted considerably due to playing the entire team event, also took a mere 18 minutes to dispatch Elsie de Villiers of South Africa 21-3 21-1 in the round of 32 at the Carrara Sport and Leisure Centre. The Olympic bronze-medallist was as sharp as she is at her best and showed no hint of exhaustion during the match.
“It has been a long week. I just want to be focused and enjoy the tournament. The plus point is I have been playing on this court. When you play somewhere for a week or two you get used to the conditions, so I think that is what happened,” she said.
Ruthivika Gadde too ensured that she wrapped up her match 18 minutes, sending Ghana’s Grace Atipaka out of the competition with a 21-5 21-7 triumph.
In the men’s draw, K Srikanth was also quite clinical as he got past Mauritian Aatish Lubah 21-13, 21-10.
“It was a good match and a good start to the individual event. I am really happy for the way it went, and I want to keep doing it,” he said.
Just like their dominant show in the team competition, the Indian shuttlers are expected to sweep the individual events.
Playing in his first match at the event, like Sindhu, third HS Prannoy was also off to a winning start but looked rusty early in his match. He eventually needed just 30 minutes to wrap up the match against Mauritius’s Christopher Jean Paul in straight games.
To go with the 100% win-rate for the badminton singles stars, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa and Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Sikki Reddy also won their mixed doubles round of 32 matches.
Round of 16 action begins on Thursday.