Star Indian shuttlers HS Prannoy, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the singles pre-quarterfinals with straight-game wins over their respective opponents in the badminton competition at the Asian Games on Tuesday. World no. 7 Prannoy, who had missed the men’s team championships final against China due to a back injury, was back on the court, dishing out a clinical performance to expectedly outwit Mongolia’s Batdavaa Munkhbat 21-9 21-12 in 25 minutes. He will face Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Panarin next. Srikanth also notched up a 21-16 21-11 win over Korea’s Lee Yun Gyu to set up a clash with Japan’s second seed Kodai Naruka. Former world champion Sindhu also looked good as she prevailed 21-10 21-15 over world no. 21 We Chi Hsu of Chinese Taipei. The last and only time Sindhu played Hsu was at the Asia Badminton Championships in Dubai earlier this month.
Sindhu will play Indonesia’s Putri Kusuma Wardani next.
However, it was curtains for Ashmita Chaliha, who lost 17-21 16-21 to Indonesia’s world no. 7 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in 35 minutes. Both the players had received a bye in their opening match.
World no. 17 pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand began their campaign with a 21-14 21-12 win over Aminath Nabeeha Abdul Razzaq and Fathimath Nabaaha Abdul Razzaq.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallists will meet third seeded Korean combination of Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong.
Women’s doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa, who had won their first International Challenge title in France in June this year, reached the second round after their Maldives opponents Maisa Fathuhulla Ismail and Aishath Afnaan Rasheed retired after lagging 2-21 2-12 in the opening match.
Tanisha and Ashwini will meet China’s Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu next.
Sindhu was leading 7-5 in the opening game. She kept her errors low and engaged in rallies, using her tosses and clears. Soon she was 11-6 and 15-6 up.
The Indian moved to 10 game points when her opponent found the net. Sindhu wasted one before sealing it when her rival went long. The second game was a tight affair. Sindhu got her length right early and tried to pin her opponent at the back court, managing to lead 4-2 but the Taipei girl managed to keep close and produced an angled smash to make it 8-7.
An on-the-line return helped Hsu to claw back at 9-9 but Sindhu ensured she has a one-point lead at the interval. The Indian extended the lead to 18-14 before a backhand return took her to five game points and she sealed the contest comfortably.
Srikanth lead 11-8 at the halfway stage in the opening game. He soon moved to 15-11 with a powerful smash. The Indian also strengthen his defence, returning the agressive returns of his opponent and comfortably closed the game when Lee went long.
In the second game, Srikanth was 7-4 up and soon extended his 11-5 with a drop shot. The one-way traffic continued as the Indian moved to 18-10 with a precise smash. He soon shut the door on his opponent without much ado.
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