India’s star shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the first round of the Arctic Open 2023 women’s singles event in Vantaa Finland on Tuesday. Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, beat the Japanese shuttler 21-13, 21-6 at the Vantaa Energia Areena. In their 19th head-to-head match, PV Sindhu defeated Nozomi Okuhara for the 10th time. The two badminton players have previously faced off in the finals of two world championships, with each player coming out on top once.
In Vantaa on Tuesday, the Indian badminton player was on the back foot at the start and trailed 4-0 after initial exchanges.
However, PV Sindhu, 13th in the badminton rankings, utilised her good reach and bounced back to lead the world No. 29 Okuhara 11-6 at the opening break. Sindhu continued the attacking display and took the opening game with ease.
Sindhu’s aggressive approach helped her dominate Okuhara in the second game as well. She led 11-3 at the break and then sealed the match to make it to the round of 16.
In the other women’s singles fixture, Aakarshi Kashyap came from a game down to defeat Lianne Tan of Belgium 18-21, 22-20, 21-18. Kashyap, ranked 41st, will face world No. 11 Wang Zhiyi of China in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Harshit Agarwal did not make it to the main draw in the men’s singles. He lost the qualifying fixture to Joakim Oldorff of Finland 21-19, 21-12.
In the mixed doubles, the Indian duo of K Sai Pratheek and Tanisha Crasto made it to the round of 32. They defeated Danish pair Andreas Sondergaard-Iben Bergstein in the qualifying round 26-24, 21-18.
On Wednesday, Kidambi Srikanth will be in action against Max Weisskirchen of Germany in the round of 32. Kiran George and Mithun Manjunath will also begin their men’s singles challenge.
Tanisha Crasto will be featuring in both mixed doubles and women’s doubles round of 32 matches alongside K Sai Pratheek and Ashwini Ponnappa, respectively.=
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