Reigning World Champion PV Sindhu suffered another early exit as South Korea’s teenage sensation An Se Young defeated the Indian in the round of 16 at the Denmark Open Super 750 tournament in Odense on Thursday.
Soon after, B Sai Praneeth also lost in the second round as he was outplayed yet again by the two-time World Champion Kento Momota. Sameer Verma’s campaign also came to an end, at the hands of China’s Chen Long.
It was a stunning result for the Korean youngster against Sindhu in what was the first meeting between the two shuttlers in the BWF World Tour. Young won 21-14, 21-17 in just 40 minutes.
Sindhu, seeded fifth, was off to an error-prone start in the opening game as Young opened up a 7-2 lead to put the Indian under early pressure. Sindhu fought back briefly but it was the Korean who had a 11-7 lead in the mid-game interval where coach Pullela Gopichand was heard saying “relax, relax” to her ward.
It did not help Sindhu, however, as she continued to trail her opponent and Young, who consistently used the body smash to great effect, converted her first game point opportunity to take the opener 21-14.
The second game saw Sindhu improve her game considerably but Young was up to the challenge even then. Sindhu raced to a 8-4 lead and the Korean responded with five straight points. Even though the Indian eventually took a 11-9 lead into the interval, Young never let up on the intensity. She bounced back from trailing 14-16, to win six straight points and earn herself to four opportunities to close the match out in straight games.
Sindhu saved one match point but the teenager wrapped up proceedings off the next rally.
The 24-year-old has now been knocked out before the quarter-finals for the third tournament on the trot after her title-winning run at the World Championships in Basel.
In the men’s round of 16, Sai Praneeth was blown away by top seed Momota 21-6, 21-14 in just 33 minutes to bring an end to India’s singles challenge at Odense. In a repeat of the World Championships semi-final, Sai Praneeth was on the backfoot from the word go and despite an improvement in the second game, never troubled Momota. This was the fifth straight win for the current world No 1 over Sai Praneeth.
Sameer Verma also tasted defeat, going down 12-21, 10-21 against Olympic champion Chen Long of China in 38 minutes to mark a dismal day for Indian shuttlers.
In an earlier match, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were defeated by sixth seeds Cheng Kai Han and Hao Dong Zhou from China. The Indians lost 16-21, 15-21 in 31 minutes to be eliminated in the round of 16 as well.
The last Indian pair left in fray, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy went down fighting against fourth seeds Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh 24-26, 21-13, 11-21. The mixed doubles second round match lasted 58 minutes.
With the mixed doubles defeat, India’s campaign came to an end in Odense.