All England Championships: PV Sindhu makes a winning start
Reigning world champion PV Sindhu started well at the All England Badminton Championships. The Super 1000 event got underway on Wednesday in Birmingham after hours of delay due to COVID-19 retesting. Meanwhile, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won their match in the men's doubles segment. The Indian contingent saw Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, and Parupalli Kashyap suffer early exits. Here's more.
PV Sindhu beats Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-11, 21-17
Olympic silver medallist Sindhu came through after showing good court coverage and controlling the shuttle well for large parts. She dished out an impressive performance to outwit world No 32 Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-11, 21-17 in 38 minutes. Sindhu is set to face Denmark's Line Christophersen next. The world number seven will hope to make it count and go far.
How has Sindhu fared in 2021?
Sindhu suffered an exit in the first round of the Yonex Thailand Open, losing 21-16, 24-26, 13-21 against Mia Blichfeldt. She was ousted in the quarter-finals of the Toyota Thailand Open by Ratchanok Intanon. At the BWF World Tour Finals, Sindhu lost two of the three games in the round robin stage. She was thrashed by Carolina Marin at the Swiss Open finale.
Indian contingent does well in doubles section
The Indian women's duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy progressed into the next round. They beat Thailand's Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard 21-14, 21-12 in 30 minutes. The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also progressed with straight game wins. They overcame England's Nikhar Garg and India's Aniruddha Mayekar 21-7 21-10 in a lop-sided contest.
Saina exits after retiring hurt on 31st birthday
On her 31st birthday, Saina, who was making her 15th straight appearance at the All England, had to retire hurt mid-way through the second game against seventh seed Mia Blichfeldt. Saina was struggling with a thigh issue and was heard telling the officials that her quad is hurting. This brought a close to the match that the Dane was leading 21-8, 10-4.
Kashyap and Srikanth bow out
Parupalli Kashyap put up a brave fight before going down against top-seeded Japanese Kento Momota 13-21 2-22 in 42 minutes. World number one Momota made a winning return to the BWF tour after being sidelined due to an accident in January 2020. Eighth seed Kidambi Srikanth lost to Ireland's unseeded player Nguyen Nhat 11-21, 21-15, 12-21.
Other important results for the Indian contingent
Lakshya Sen overcame world No 18 Kantaphon Wangchaoren in straight games. He won 21-18, 21-12 in 49 minutes. HS Prannoy defeated Malaysia's Daren Liew 21-10, 21-10 in just 30 minutes to set up a second-round clash against Kento Momota. Sai Praneeth was made to work hard by Toma Junior Popov, before prevailing 21-18, 22-20 in 54 minutes. Sameer Verma beat Ygor Coelho 21-11, 21-19.