Sindhu begins title defence with win; Lakshya through

Good start: India’s PV Sindhu returns to Martina Repiska of Slovakia during the BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain, on Tuesday. — AP
Good start: India’s PV Sindhu returns to Martina Repiska of Slovakia during the BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain, on Tuesday. — AP

Huelva (Spain) - Sindhu has been in impressive form as she claimed her second silver medal at the season-ending World Tour Finals



By ANI/PTI

Published: Tue 14 Dec 2021, 10:57 PM

Reigning world champion India’s PV Sindhu began her title defence with a fine victory over Martina Repiska at the ongoing BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva on Tuesday.

The two-time Olympic medallist defeated the shuttler from Slovakia 21-7, 21-9 in just 24 minutes. Sindhu faced very little resistance from Repiska as she moved into the round of 16.

In the men’s singles, Lakshya Sen had to battle past Kenta Nishimoto to move into the next round. The Indian, who is making his debut at the World Championships, defeated the 15th seed shuttler from Japan 22-20, 15-21, 21- 18 in a titanic clash which lasted for one hour and 22 minutes. Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth rallied to defeat Chinese Li Shi Feng 15-21 21-18 21-17.

Earlier in the men’s doubles, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were made to work hard by Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuan.

The eight seeded-Indians, dropped five-game points in the first game as Lee/Yang stretched the pair of Shetty-Rankireddy to their limit. But the Indians persevered to win 27-25. In the second game, Chirag and Satwik shifted their gears and dished out a better performance to prevail 21-17.

Elsewhere on court 1, Malaysian mixed doubles pair of Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing moved past India’s Saurabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh by 21-8, 21-18.

Sindhu has been in impressive form as she claimed her second silver medal at the season-ending World Tour Finals after three successive semifinals finishes at French open, Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open.

The 26-year-old from Hyderabad will now look to cap the season with a successful defence of her maiden world championship title, which she had claimed two years ago in Basel, Switzerland.

The tournament has lost a lot of sheen with the withdrawals of the entire Indonesian contingent and other elite players such as two-time winner Kento Momota. The women’s singles field also has been left depleted after the withdrawal of three-time champion Carolina Marin and 2017 winner Nozomi Okuhara. — ANI/PTI

It is also the first time in her career that London Olympics bronze medallist and 2015 silver medallist Saina Nehwal missed the World Championships due to multiple injuries.

While Sindhu will fancy her chances, retaining the title will still be much easier said than done as she still has to face the likes of ninth seeded Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong, top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and Korea’s teen sensation An Seyoung.

An Seyoung has been in scintillating form as she claimed back-to-back titles at Indonesia Masters, Indonesia Open before grabbing her maiden World Tour Final crown, becoming the first from her country to do so.

Sindhu’s victory on Monday put her face-to-face with Pornpawee Chochuwong, who has defeated the Indian twice in the last two meetings.

If Sindhu can get across the Thai, she is likely to be pitted against Tai Tzu, who has proved to be her nemesis with a head-to-head record of 14-5, including wins in last four meetings. — ANI/PTI


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