PV Sindhu progressed to the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 badminton tournament in Jakarta on Thursday with a hard-fought win over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt.
However, India’s campaign in the men’s singles came to an end on a day of upsets in that part of the draw. Eighth seed K Srikanth was knocked out in straight games by Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus 21-17, 21-19 in 39 minutes. Earlier in the day, top seed Kento Momota was also eliminated followed by fifth seed Chen Long. In between, No 2 Shi Yuqi injured his ankle badly to retire hurt from his round of 16 match against Anders Antonsen.
Sindhu is the last remaining Indian in contention in Jakarta.
It was a tough battle in the early stages of the match for Sindhu against world No 13 Blichfeldt but the Indian’s class came through at the end as she won 21-14, 17-21, 21-11 in 62 minutes.
The first two games were tightly contested affairs. After trailing 3-6, Sindhu took a 11-9 lead at the mid-game interval in the opener. The Dane was playing some solid badminton but Sindhu managed to play a clean game without hitting top gear. She wrapped up the game 21-14 in 18 minutes even though the scorecard did not do justice to how well Blichfeldt was playing.
The second game as a different story as Sindhu did not hold the lead at any point. Blichfeldt upped her tempo and dictated rallies with Sindhu appearing to be troubled by the drift. The fifth seed made her fair share of unforced errors as Blichfeldt forced the decider.
But the deciding game was dominated by Sindhu as she went on a spree from 2-3 to win 13 out of the next 14 points either side of the change of ends to open up a 15-4 lead. Blichfeldt struggled to find her footing in the closing stages while Sindhu did enough from there to close the match out. The Indian had 12 match points and converted her fourth.
It was Sindhu’s third win over the Dane this year. The Indian had earlier defeated Blichfeldt in straight games in the Indian Open and the Singapore Open.
Sindhu will now a familiar rival in the last night as she takes on Nozomi Okuhara (third seed) who defeated Sonia Cheah in straight games. It’s the 15th meeting between the 2017 World Championships finalists with the rivalry tied at seven wins each.
Top seeds Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang eliminated Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy 21-14, 21-11 in 33 minutes as India’s mixed doubles campaign came to an end too.
Earlier, promising men’s doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were knocked out by top seeds Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo; the defending champions and local favourites won the match 21-15, 21-14 in just 28 minutes.