Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition after defeating Korea’s Kim Hyo Min in the second round of the World Championship here today. Sindhu, who twice won bronze medals at the 2013 and 2014 editions, notched up a 21-16 21-14 win over Kim in a 49-minute match, to extend her head-to-head record against the Korean to 4-1 in five meetings. The 22-year-old, who received a bye in the opening round, will face either Russian’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya or Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi, 13th seed, in the next round. Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth also made a positive start to his campaign, registering a straight-game win over Hong Kong’s Wei Nan to reach the second round of men’s singles event.
Praneeth, seeded 15th, fought back from 5-9 and 14-16 in the opening game and then erased a deficit of 10-13 and 15-17 in the second game to eventually see off Wei Nan 21-18 21-17 in a 48-minute match.
The 25-year-old from Hyderabad will next take on Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who is the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic and World Junior Championships boys’ singles bronze medallist.
“I was expecting a tough match. I changed my game but the match was getting close. He made some small mistakes and I won. I am happy that I could pull off the match today as I know this is a tough match. Tomorrow it would be another difficult match and I hope I can win,” Praneeth told PTI.
India’s top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, seeded 15th, who had won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title, defeated Indo-Malaysian combo of Prajakta Sawant and Yogendran Khrishnan 21-12 21-19.
However, disappointment was at store for India in the other mixed doubles matches as B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Maneesha K suffered contrasting losses to bow out of the event.
Sumeeth and Ashwini, who had reached the finals of Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in January, went down fighting 17-21 21- 18 5-21 to 13th seeded Chinese pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, while Satwiksairaj and Maneesha lost 20-22 18-21 to 14th seeded Denmark duo of Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen.
The last time Sindhu had faced Kim, she had suffered a straight-game defeat at 2016 Australian Open and the Indian came out all cylinders blazing today as she dished out a dominating game to zoom to a 8-0 lead in the first game.
Kim Hyo Min tried to break the one-way traffic and won four straight points but the Indian grabbed a comfortable 11-5 lead.
The Korean reduced the gap to 8-12 after the break but a determined Sindhu continued to move ahead and reached 16-10 at one stage. She eventually took a 20-14 lead. Kim saved two game points before the Indian sealed the opening game.
In the second game, Sindhu once again opened up a 8-3 lead. The Korean managed to reduce the margin to 8-10 but the Indian didn’t allow Kim to put up a challenge as she kept on surging ahead, reaching 19-12.
She sealed the issue eventually without much ado, grabbing the final two points.
National champion Rituparna Das also emerged victories in her opening round match yesterday as her opponent Finland’s Airi Mikkela retired after lagging 0-2 in the first game.