Saina enters quarters; Sindhu crashes out

Saina enters quarters; Sindhu crashes out

Saina Nehwal kept her maiden Asian Games individual medal hopes alive with another polished performance but P V Sindhu suffered a shock loss here in the badminton competition on Thursday.

The sixth-seeded Saina once again had a quick workout at the Gyeyang Gymnasium courts, notching up a lop-sided 21-7, 21-6 pre-quarterfinal win over Iranian Soraya Aghaeihajiagha before Sindhu bowed out in surprising fashion, the eighth seed going down to World No 34 Bellaetrix Manupatty, 22-20, 16-21, 20-22 in an oscillating 62-minute tussle.

There was cheer in the men’s camp though, both Parupalli Kashyap and K Srikanth registering fine wins to storm into the round of 16. Kashyap hammered Afghanistan’s Iqbal Ahmad Shekib 21-6, 21-6 while Srikanth overcame a slow start in defeating Vietnam’s Pham Cao Cuong 23-21, 21-8.

The men’s doubles combo of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy took a surprise step into the quarterfinals after notching up a spirited 21-17, 21-16 win over China’s sixth-seeded combo of Liu Xialong and Qiu Zihan, the world number ten combo. The day started on a sweet note for Manu, who teamed up with Sikki Reddy to beat the Maldives duo of Nasheeu Sharafuddeen and Aishath Afnaan Rasheed 21-8, 21-4 to march into the mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.

The fine day though was soured when Sindhu allowed a match in her grasp to slip away. Fresh from her second straight World Championship bronze medal, Sindhu checked into Incheon with plenty of confidence that was evident during the preceding team championship matches.

However, inconsistency caused her downfall against Bellaetrix. In the opening game where Sindhu led 17-13, she allowed the Indonesian to level things at 17-17. She held her nerve in the end though to seal it before blowing it all up in the second.

Seemingly in command at 14-9, Sindhu made plenty of errors as Bellaetrix turned the game around to shoot into a 17-14 lead before closing it out to push the match into a decider.

With momentum on her side, Bellaetrix took a 5-0 lead in the final game and then led 16-12 to stay well ahead. Not the one to throw in the towel, Sindhu bounced back in splendid fashion to hit the front at 17-16 but Bellaetrix regained her composure to set up a clash with World No 1 Li Xuerui.

Meanwhile, Saina and Kashyap will face a test of their characters on Friday. While Saina takes on Wang Yihan, who she has defeated just once in nine attempts, Kashyap runs into Malaysian World No 1 Lee Chong Wei.



Results (Indians only): Men’s singles, round of 32: P Kashyap (Ind) bt Iqbal Ahmad Shekib (Afg) 21-6, 21-6; K Srikanth (Ind) bt Pham Cao Cuong (Vie) 23-21, 21-8.Men’s doubles, round of 16: Manu Attri/ Sumeeth Reddy (Ind) bt Liu Xialong/ Qiu Zihan (Chn) 21-17, 21-16.

Women’s singles, pre-quarterfinals: Saina Nehwal (Ind) bt Soraya Aghaeihajiagha (Iri) 21-7, 21-6; Bellaetrix Manupatty (Ina) bt PV Sindhu (Ind) 20-22, 21-16, 22-20.

Mixed doubles, round of 32: Chayut Triyachart/ Lei Yao (Sin) bt Akshay Dewalkar/ Pradnya Gadre (Ind) 22-20, 17-21, 21-13; Manu Attri/ Sikki Reddy (Ind) bt Nasheeu Sharafuddeen/ Aishath Afnaan Rasheed (Mdv) 21-8, 21-4.

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