India Open Super Series 2017: PV Sindhu crowned Miss India 2017, beats Carolina Marin in final

PV Sindhu beat Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 in the final to record her fourth win over the Spaniard in nine matches. PTI PV Sindhu beat Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 in the final to record her fourth win over the Spaniard in nine matches. PTI

This will not quite make up for the disappointment of the Rio Olympics final, but will do nicely for now. PV Sindhu was threatening to take over the mantle of India’s shuttle queen for some time now, and over this week, under the most intense pressure, on home turf, the tall girl from Hyderabad ticked all the boxes. In the quarterfinal, she prevailed over Saina Nehwal, who strode like a colossus in Indian badminton for a decade, and on Sunday, put it across her Rio tormentor Carolina Marin — both in straight games.

The baton was well and truly passed on when Marin’s smash hit the net for a 21-19, 21-16 verdict. It is only Sindhu’s second Super Series title, after the China Open triumph late last year, but coming at the beginning of the year with several big tournaments to come, it is one of her most significant triumphs. There were four other finals at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open on Sunday, but there was no doubt for whom the Siri Fort Sports Complex was bursting at the seams. Every available vantage point was taken, with the organisers too catching the mood. A dancing troupe performed on the court with ‘Jai Ho’ blaring from the public address system.

With such a frenzy cultivated, defeat was not an option. And Sindhu did not disappoint. Even the announcement of the arrival of sports minister Vijay Goel at a critical juncture in the match did not distract her. The significance of the occasion could be gauged from the fact that chief national coach Pullela Gopichand was sitting right behind his protégé, along with the specialist singles coach Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo, for the only time in the tournament.

Despite beating Sindhu in the gold medal match in Rio, Marin enjoys great support in India. She was cheered throughout the week, but as Sindhu arrived on court for the final, the noise almost brought the roof down. Both players knew what was at stake. For Sindhu, a chance to become the leading light in contemporary Indian badminton, and for Marin, who has fallen off the pace in recent times, an opportunity to clinch her first title since the Olympics.

Both shuttlers felt the pressure in the early going, but it was Sindhu who was dictating play. She was the more aggressive player on court, with hard smashes at Marin’s body, drives into the corners and deft net play complemented by panther-like speed while going for the kill. The crowd was living every moment of the 47-minute contest. Whenever Marin succeeded in stringing a few points together, one could sense an anxiety in the stands. A Sindhu point, subsequently, brought out a roar of relief.

The first game was a nip-and-tuck affair. After Marin ate into an early 6-1 lead Sindhu had, there were never more than three points between them. Most points were being decided by errors. The Spaniard caught up at 17-all and even led 19-18. It is there that the match turned. Sindhu restored parity with a kill at the net after a smash. Marin helped her out when, out of anxiety, she hit her own kill wide. A smash at the body sealed the opener, prompting a big fist pump.

Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal at the start of the second game, running up a 4-0 lead in the blink of an eye. Though Marin continued to eat into the margin, she could never get back on level terms thereafter.

Mind games

The two are good friends off court, and even shared some relaxed moments after the match. It did not prevent them, however, from indulging in some mind games on court. Both players were taking their time between points, wandering around the court, and were spoken to by the chair umpire on more than one occasion. For such a significant victory of her career, it was quite an understated celebration from Sindhu. She raised her arms, turned to all corners of the arena, before running towards ‘Gopi sir.’ It, maybe, shows her growing confidence and maturity as she knows it should be the start of bigger things to come.

“It is a very important Super Series tournament, at home and at the start of the year. I was fighting for every point and am very happy at how I played throughout the tournament,” the Indian star said. Marin was left to rue mistakes at crucial stages of the final, but was impressed with the improvement in Sindhu’s game since Rio. “Errors at the end of the first game hurt me badly. I played well here, but every player is improving by the day, and it is small things that make the difference.” The Spaniard is confident her title drought will end soon. “I am getting better after injury. The confidence is coming back and I am motivated to keep fighting hard,” the Olympic champion said.

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PV Sindhu vs Carolina Marin previous results: Marin leads head-to-head battle 5-3

PV Sindhu is 3-8 in head-to-head record against Carolina Marin. (Source: PTI) PV Sindhu is 3-8 in head-to-head record against Carolina Marin. (Source: PTI)

PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin are once again set to play against each other. The last time they played, a match that went unnoticed, was at the Dubai World Superseries finals. The Indian beat Marin in straight sets. But, their meeting before this match is the one which is remembered most. There is a lot of talk about it before the two face each other at the India Open Superseries in New Delhi. Here are the head to head battles between Sindhu and Marin.

Dubai World Superseries Finals WS (December, 2016)

This was the first time since the Rio Olympics final that the two were facing each other. Marin had some injury problems during and after Rio Games and that reflected in her game as she went down 17-21, 13-21 against Sindhu, who was growing in confidence.

Rio Olympics 2016 (August, 2016)

Biggest of them all, Sindhu and Marin were part of the Games women’s singles final. Sindhu won the first game but lost the second. Marin then showed why she was the world number one at that time. She dominated the final set and won the gold medal by winning 19-21, 21-12, 21-15.

Hong Kong Open (November, 2015)

Marin was the top seeded player in Hong Kong and she played like one. The Spaniard did not give Sindhu a chance and completed a straight sets win 21-17, 21-9

Denmark Open (October, 2015)

The ticking point for Sindhu and Marin rivalry might have been in Denmark. Marin had defeated Sindhu in their previous three meetings but this time the Indian roared back and won the battle in three games 15-21 21-18 17-21

Syed Modi International (January, 2015)

For the first time in India, Marin met Sindhu. But it was not the perfect outing for the Indian as she lost 21-13 21-13 against the Spaniard who won bettered her head-to-head record against Sindhu to 3-1

World Championships (August 2014)

A big match between Marin and Sindhu at the 2014 World Championships. Marin went on to become the world champion after beating Sindhu 21-17 21-15 in the semi-finals

Star Australian Badminton Open (June, 2014)

The second meeting between the two was where Marin made it 1-1 in head-to-head battle. Marin was unseeded while Sindhu was seeded eighth in the competition but still lost 21-17 21-17

Maldives International Badminton Challenge 2011

This was the first meeting between Marin and Sindhu and it was the Indian who came out on top in three games. Marin lost to Sindhu 7-21 21-15 13-21

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PV Sindhu beats Carolina Marin 21-19 21-16 to win India Open title

PV Sindhu won her first India Open title. PV Sindhu won her first India Open title.

India’s badminton star PV Sindhu added yet another title to her name after winning the India Open Superseries title in New Delhi on Sunday. This was her first title at home after she beat Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin in the final. Sindhu, who had lost to Marin in Rio, produced an inspiring performance and won the final ins straight sets 21-19 21-16.

In an show great show of grit, Sindhu never let Marin dominate the match. She continued to produced some crucial body smashes to keep the lead.

The first game was a close affair as Marin took the first point but Sindhu then took five straight points to lead early. The lead continued for Sindhu till Marin won a point late it the game to make it 19-18 in her favour. But then she hit two return outside the area and handed Sindhu a match point which she converted as Marin hit the return long.

The second game was even better for the Indian as she made an early four point lead and forced Marin to play according to her rather than giving away the advantage and play the game of her opponent.

A the game break, Sindhu led 11-7 and later made it 15-11 with some crucial and deep smashes. Her defence was also top notch as she made returns with ease and frustrated Marin.

Marin did try to make a comeback late in second game but it was little late as Sindhu took five match points. Marin managed to save one as Sindhu hit her smash straight into the net.

But, there was no fault in the second match point as she put one into Marin’s body, which the Spaniard managed to pick could not cross over the net.

The win gave Sindhu her first India Open title and second Superseries title after the China Open last year.

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PV Sindhu takes Rio 2016 revenge, beats Carolina Marin to win Indian Open Super Series title, twitterati react

PV Sindhu overcame Carolina Marin to clinch her maiden Indian Open Super Series title. (Source: PTI) PV Sindhu overcame Carolina Marin to clinch her maiden Indian Open Super Series title. (Source: PTI)

PV Sindhu beat Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 in the title clash for the the Indian Open Super Series in New Delhi. With that, she lifted her second Super Series singles title. The match may have been concluded in two sets but it was one that was evenly matched and Marin kept fighting till the end in front of the home crowd.

Although the Spaniard got the first point, Sindhu rallied to take five points on the trot in the first set. Marin then bounced back and went on to overturn Sindhu’s lead. It then turned out to be a see-saw first set but Sindhu prevailed and won it 19-21. She was the clear favourite as the home crowd cheered every time she got a point. The second set turned out in similar vein as Sindhu took the early lead and Marin fought back. The two went toe to toe but Sindhu prevailed 21-16 to clinch her maiden Indian Open Super Series title.

Sindhu and Marin’s road to the finals were in different fashions. While the former was pushed in the semi-final by South Korean Sung Ji Hyun, Marin didn’t really need to break sweat when she beat Akane Yamaguchi. The final was billed as a sort of a revenge fixture for Sindhu as it was Marin who beat her in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to deny Sindhu an unprecedented gold. Marin had beaten Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 back then.

Sport unites all.

Sikh, Isaai,Muslim, Hindu;

Sabko jode PV Sindhu.

Congrats champion @Pvsindhu1 on another wonderful Victory.#SindhuvsMarin pic.twitter.com/myqulxw0gX — Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) 2 April 2017

Just awesome!!! Soon to be world no. 2? @OGQ_India http://t.co/0F5nxFHFxa — Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) 2 April 2017

@Pvsindhu1 wow! What a star! Beating Olympics champ to win Indian open! Super super stuff!! — Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) 2 April 2017

That’s the way to victory!

Congratulations @Pvsindhu1 for winning the India Open Badminton Championship. #SindhuvsMarin — Poonam Mahajan (@poonam_mahajan) 2 April 2017

PV Sindhu is ranked two places below Marin in the world rankings.

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Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu set up quarters date at India Open

Saina Nehwal won her match against Porn 21-14 21-12. (Source: PTI) Saina Nehwal won her match against Porn 21-14 21-12. (Source: PTI)

Star shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu on Thursday notched up contrasting victories to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal clash at the Yonex-Sunrise India Super Series badminton tournament at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi.

London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who had struggled past Pornpawee Chochuwong in the finals of Malaysia Masters in January, brushed aside the 19-year-old Thai girl 21-14 21-12 in a lop-sided women’s singles contest.

Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu then staved off the challenge of Japan’s Saena Kawakami 21-16 23-21 to set up a quarter-final clash against world no. 8 Saina on Friday.

Earlier, Sameer Verma continued his rampaging run, notching up another stunning win over higher ranked Hun Yu of Hong Kong in straight games to emerge as the lone Indian hope in men’s singles competition.

The Hong Kong Open finalist, Sameer reached the quarterfinals with a shocking 21-17 21-15 win in a 40-minute match. The 22-year-old from Dhar, who had clinched his maiden Grand Prix Gold event at Syed Modi Internationals in January, will face Denmark’s Anders Antonsen who advanced after German Marc Zwiebler conceded a walkover.

Saina and Sindhu have met just once in an international competition — at the 2014 Syed Modi International. Saina had won that match in straight games. They had played against each other in PBL early this year with Sindhu having an upper hand this year.

“Anything can happen tomorrow in this fast court where attacking is difficult, and also playing a rally game is also tough. It is very difficult to control the shuttles,” Saina said.

“She is a top 10 player and it will be very tough to control the shuttle. I will have to control my errors, I just hope I play better than today. But I have nothing to lose and it is lot easier to play without pressure. In PBL, it was 11-point and I was not even sure if I would be playing as I was coming out of injury.”

Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain also reached the quarterfinals at the expense of India’s national champion Rituparna Das, who went down 13-21 11-21 in a one-sided contest.

A more relaxed Saina was on display as she played within herself, analysing her mistakes, and often breaking into a smile. The Indian was not challenged much by World No. 34 Pornpawee as Saina always had the upper hand in the 33-minute match.

Instead of going for the kill, Saina waited for her opponent to make mistakes and eventually grabbed the opening game when Pornpawee hit long twice.

The second game started on a competitive note with some fast rallies but Saina soon stepped up and created a gap which her rival could not narrow down.

World No. 5 Sindhu, on the other hand, had to toil hard in the second game against an opponent who was agile and showed tremendous tenacity. However, in the end, it was a return that kissed the net and fall sharply at the forecourt which left the Japanese sprawled on the court.

Talking about her quarterfinal clash tomorrow, Sindhu said: “I know everybody would be looking forward to the match (against Saina) and hope the best player wins tomorrow.”

After making his maiden quarterfinals at India Open, Sameer said: “I had prepared for his game but he played better today. He is a tricky player with quality strokes. I think I am confident enough to go for my strokes. I will look to continue the momentum tomorrow.”

The older of the Verma brothers, Sourabh was engaged in a fierce battle with another Hong Kong shuttler when Sameer took the court and while he completed his victory with consummate ease, Sourabh blew a 19-16 lead in the decider, despite making a roaring comeback in the second game where he had led from start to finish.

In the end, the scoreline read 19-21 21-14 20-22 in favour of sixth seed Ng Ka Long Angus as Sourabh left crestfallen.

While answering about the difference between their games, Sameer made an observation, saying: “He has a calm head and has a good rally game while I am more attacking, perhaps, if I can have his patience and he can have my aggression, we both will do well.”

Before the verma brothers could finish their engagements, another Indian was facing an exceptionally unsual day where nothing seemed to go his way.

Former champion Kidambi Srikanth had such an off day that he completely misjudged the length of the shuttle and struggled with his strokes and got buried in a heap of unforced errors. After 25 minutes, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen ended his agony with a 21-7 21-12 win.

“Nothing went my way today. I was misjudging the shuttle completely. He was playing too well and I just couldn’t compete,” Srikanth said.

The Indian got some words of comfort from the strapping Dane.

“I have been there when you enter the court and find nothing is right. But I know how good a player, Srikanth is,” said Axelsen, who had lost the finals to the Indian at 2015 edition.

Among others, B Sai Praneeth failed to match the seventh seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei and was outclassed 14-21 16-21 in 36 minutes.

Shruti Mundada and Anoushka Parikh were no match for the third seeded Japanese pair of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao, while Syed Modi champions Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, seeded seventh, lost 18-21 19-21 to Russian duo of Evgenij Dremin and Evgenia Dimova.

Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy suffered a 15-21 10-21 loss to fourth seeded Thai pair of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

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India Open 2017: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal set for blockbuster quarterfinals clash

PV Sindhu reacts during play against Kawakami Saena (JPN) during the Women’s singles match at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2017 in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo PV Sindhu reacts during play against Kawakami Saena (JPN) during the Women’s singles match at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2017 in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

The stage is set for an epic clash at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi as star shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are set to go against each other to fight for the semi-final spot at the Yonex-Sunrise India Super Series badminton tournament. London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal, on Thursday, defeated the 19-year old Thailand Pornpawee Chochuwong by 21-14 21-12, while Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu, brushed past Japan’s Saena Kawakami by 21-16 23-21 to set up the quarterfinal clash against the world no. 8 Saina on Friday.

Talking about the upcoming fixture, Nehwal said that she is expecting a tough fixture against Sindhu. “Anything can happen tomorrow in this fast court where attacking is difficult, and also playing a rally game is also tough. It is very difficult to control the shuttles,” she said.

Saina also said that she has to control her errors and she hopes to display a better performance on Friday against Sindhu. “She is a top 10 player and it will be very tough to control the shuttle. I will have to control my errors, I just hope I play better than today. But I have nothing to lose and it is lot easier to play without pressure,” she said.

Talking about her defeat against Sindhu in Premiere Badminton League match in January this year, Saina said, “In PBL, it was 11-point and I was not even sure if I would be playing as I was coming out of injury.”

Sindhu, after her victory against Kawakami said, “I know everybody would be looking forward to the match (against Saina) and hope the best player wins tomorrow,” she sad.

The two players have met before just once in international competition, at at the 2014 Syed Modi International, in which Saina won the match in straight games. The two also clashed with each other in Premiere Badminton League in January this year in which Sindhu came victorious.

(With inputs from PTI)

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India Open 2017: Two queens, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, clash at Siri Fort

PV Sindhu beat Japan’s Saena Kawakami 21-16, 23-21 while Saina Nehwal (Below) got past Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-14, 21-12. Amit Mehra PV Sindhu beat Japan’s Saena Kawakami 21-16, 23-21 while Saina Nehwal (Below) got past Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-14, 21-12. Amit Mehra

As the shuttle dribbled over the net and fell over to her side, Saena Kawakami was lying prostrate on the court. She had gone toe to toe with PV Sindhu in the last match of the day, and the Indian star needed this huge slice of luck to get through and set up a blockbuster meeting with compatriot Saina Nehwal in the quarterfinals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super Series. The Rio Olympics silver medallist looked distracted throughout Thursday’s contest, as if her mind was already on the big clash in the last eight.

She trailed her Japanese opponent at various stages in both games before pulling through 21-16, 23-21 in 40 minutes. She missed the court on regulation shots, hit the net on kills, and seemed a bit sluggish. “The court was two-paced. Some shuttles were coming fast while others were slow,” was Sindhu’s explanation for the troubles caused by 19-year-old, currently ranked 87 in the world.

Saina had made it through to the quarterfinals in straight games a little while earlier, though her form and performance against Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in her 21-14, 21-12 victory was nothing to write home about. Though Saina was more aggressive than her opening round match, she was nowhere close to her best. But once she got ahead in both games against a player she beat in a tough final to win the Malaysia Masters in January, the result was never in doubt. But the readiness of both Indian stars for battles after their quarterfinal encounter is.

Clashes between Saina and Sindhu are very rare. They have met just once on the circuit, at the 2014 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow, where the former prevailed. They have faced off twice in the Premier Badminton League (earlier the Indian Badminton League) with each tasting success once. Sindhu won their encounter earlier this year.

There are other great contenders for the women’s singles crown at the India Open – such as Carolina Marin, Ratchanok Intanon and Sung Ji Hyun – but the home crowd will have their eyes set on the all-Indian clash, and the two girls know it.

“It will be a difficult match, but I am looking forward to it and will give my best,” is all that Sindhu said after her late match against the Japanese Saena. Saina said: “She is a top 10 player and I will have to be at my best.” While Sindhu is riding the crest of a wave right now after her exploits in Rio, the London Olympics bronze medallist had to lie low due to knee surgery. Saina will, however, be keen to establish that she is still the premier queen of the court in the country despite her recent setbacks.

Role reversal

There was not much cheer for the other Indians on show at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Thursday. Sameer Verma, who had stunned World No. 5 Son Wan Ho in the opening round, followed it up with a 21-17, 21-15 win over Hun Yu of Hong Kong to be only the third Indian success story of the day. He will face Dane Anders Antonsen in the quarterfinals.

But his brother Sourabh had a bitter pill to swallow in a 21-19, 14-21, 22-20 defeat at the hands of another Hong Kong shuttler, No. 6 seed Ng Ka Long Angus. The Indian was in control of matters for most of the contest before allowing his opponent a look in. He had a handy lead in the two games he lost, and would be kicking himself at not finishing the job, preferably in straight games.

The rematch of the 2015 India Open men’s singles final went according to an altogether different script. Two years ago, Kidambi Srikanth was in sublime form as he gave Dane Viktor Axelson no chance. On Thursday, the boot was in the other foot as the Indian had simply no answer to the No.3 seed’s power, skill and speed round the court in a 21-7, 21-12 defeat in a mere 25 minutes. “He (Axelson) was too fast for me today. I had no feel today and could not find the proper length on court,” Srikanth said.

In the absence of the likes of Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Chen Long from the draw, the tall Dane would be one of the favourites for the title in the Indian Capital after enjoying an impressive run in recent tournaments. In contrast, the women’s draw is full of marquee names. Marin, the reigning Olympic champion, was too good for India’s Rituparna Das with a 21-13, 21-11 victory during which, interestingly, there were more spectators chanting the Spaniard’s name than that of the local girl.

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India Open: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu hardly break into a sweat

Saina Nehwal was not at her best but was good enough to beat Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hsin Lee 21-10, 21-17. Source: Praveen Khanna Saina Nehwal was not at her best but was good enough to beat Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hsin Lee 21-10, 21-17. Source: Praveen Khanna

Top sportspersons train themselves to focus on processes, not outcomes. They condition themselves to believe that if they do the right things, results will take care of themselves. But when anxiety takes over, such stoicism can go for a toss. Returning after a career-threatening knee injury, Saina Nehwal is going through such a phase right now.

Against Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hsin Lee in the first round of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, Saina was expected to face few problems. But the London Olympics bronze medallist made things tougher for herself against a player more comfortable on the doubles circuit as she tried to finish the contest as early as possible, rather than concentrating on doing what she does best.

“I was anxious to finish the match and made a lot of unforced errors,” Saina said after her 21-10, 21-17 victory that took 35 minutes. “I gave her six or seven unnecessary points in the end, otherwise the score could have been identical in both games.”

The other reigning diva of Indian badminton, PV Sindhu survived a few tricky moments in the beginning to get past compatriot Arundhati Pantawane 21-17, 21-6 in half an hour. If both Indian stars get past their next opponents, they will be up against each other for a spot in the semifinals. That battle royale would seem too early to most Indian fans, but with the women’s singles draw featuring the likes of Carolina Marin, Ratchanok Intanon and Sung Ji Hyun, the fight for the crown could hardly get tougher.

The last few months after the Rio Olympics have not been easy on Saina. The knee surgery and the resultant rehabilitation have taken a lot out of her famed mental resolve. “I did a lot of stupid stuff and gained a lot of weight. When I started my strengthening regime under Heath Matthews, we needed to take the load off the knee and I had to lose 4-5 kg.”

That Saina is not yet close to her best was evident on the court on Wednesday. She looked rusty at the start, understandable as it is only the third tournament on her comeback. Her movements looked tentative, and she was bailed out by the several unforced errors from Lee’s racquet.

Consistency is an area that Saina still needs to improve in and she was seen shadow practising shots after most errors. Her wry smile when several of her shots did not find the court told their own story. But her class was intact, with several crosscourt half smashes leaving the Taipei girl stranded at the back of the court.

“I am not yet in the zone. After the loss of form due to the injury and surgery, I am still finding my way back. This is a faster court, unlike those in Dubai or the All England, and there is a drift too. She (Lee) was a tricky opponent, and I could not have beaten her being 50 or 60 percent fit,” she said.

Saina is ranked 8th in the world, but her place in the ladder hardly bothers her now.

Saina next plays Thai girl Pornpawee Chochuwong, whom she beat in her first tournament on her comeback to win the Malaysia Masters earlier this year.

Sindhu, on the other hand, is riding the crest of a wave. Against Arundhati, the tall Sindhu was made to look sluggish at the start and even trailed 10-12 at one stage. But once she gathered steam, Sindhu made good use of her superior height, reach and athleticism to finish the match quickly.

She will face Japan’s Saena Kawakami in her next encounter.

On a day when all the top women shuttlers advanced, one of the most eye-catching results was India’s Rituparna Das beating Chinese Chiang Mei Hui in three tough games 19-21, 21-15, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

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