World champion PV Sindhu made an impressive start at the All England Badminton Championships but compatriots Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap suffered early exits after losing their respective opening round men’s singles matches in Birmingham on Wednesday. Sindhu eased into the second round of the tournament with a comfortable 21-11, 21-17 win over Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah. Cheah tried to stay in touch with the Indian for the entirety of the match but Sindhu was just superior and too good for the Malaysian. Also Read – Badminton | All England Championship 2021: Indian Contingent Cleared to Take Part After Three Shuttlers Test Negative in Retests
The Indian women’s duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also progressed to the second round with straight game wins. Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy advanced to the second round with a straight games win against a Thai pair. Ashwini-Sikki registered a 21-14, 21-12 win over Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard in just 30 minutes. Also Read – All England Open Badminton Championships 2021: PV Sindhu Leads India’s Challenge in Depleted Field
Ashwini and Sikki will face sixth-seeded Bulgarian sisters Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva next, while Satwik and Chirag will meet the formidable Danish pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, who had defeated the Indian duo on way to their title win at the Swiss Open. Also Read – Swiss Open Badminton 2021: PV Sindhu Suffers Demoralising Defeat Against Carolina Marin in Final
Olympic silver medallist Sindhu gave a good account of herself as she covered the court well and dished out a disciplined performance to outwit world number 32 Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-11, 21-17 in 38 minutes. The fifth-seeded Indian will face Denmark’s Line Christophersen next.
In the men’s singles, seeded eight, Kidambi Srikanth was shocked by Ireland’s unseeded player Nhat Nguyen 11-21, 21-15, 12-21. His match lasted exactly an hour as the player from Ireland came back strongly after losing the second game against the Indian.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kashyap put up a brave fight before going down to top seeded Japanese Kento Momota 13-21, 2-22 in 42 minutes. This was Momota’s first tournament since he fractured his eye socket in an accident in Malaysia last year that killed his driver.
After an initial neck and neck battle till 7-7, Sindhu went into the break with a three-point advantage. The Indian kept the proceedings under control to eventually wrap up the opening game in 16 minutes.
In the second game, Soniia managed to eke out a 10-8 lead but the Indian upped the ante to head into the interval with a slender 11-10 advantage.
The Malaysian strengthened her defence and managed to catch up at 17-17 with a run of three points. Two unforced errors by Soniia handed Sindhu three match points and she sealed it when the Malaysian went long again.
India’s top men’s doubles pair of Rankireddy and Shetty ran over their Indo-English opponents Aniruddha Mayekar and Nikhar Garg in just 19 minutes. Satwik-Chirag won 21-7, 21-10 to rush into the second round.
In other results, Malaysian pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi ended the campaign of Indian men’s combo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila with a 21-13 21-12 win, while the women’s duo of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram also bowed out after losing 10-21 15-21 to Denmark’s Alexandra Boje and Mette Poulsen.
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