Sindhu makes a shaky start, Srikanth beaten

Sindhu makes a shaky start, Srikanth beaten

Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu made a positive yet unsure start to her campaign in women's singles but Kidambi Srikanth suffered a straight game loss on the opening day of the USD 1 million Dubai Super Series Final, here on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Sindhu, who had a 4-5 head-to-head record against World No 9 He Bingjiao, dished out a gritty performance to overcome the left-handed Chinese 21-11, 16-21, 21-18 in a Group A match that lasted an hour and four minutes.

World No 4 Srikanth, however, couldn't bring out his top game as he suffered a 13-21, 17-21 loss to World No 1 and defending champion Viktor Axelsen in a Group B men's singles match that lasted just 38 minutes.

Sindhu faces Japan's Sayaka Sato next, while Srikanth will take on Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen on Thursday.

Playing an opponent she has faced twice this year, Sindhu showed good defence as she engaged her rival in rallies by putting the shuttle in awkward positions and tried to close out the points.

Sindhu showed immaculate defence to counter Bingjiao's strokes and pushed the Chinese to commit errors. The Indian led 10-6 when the Chinese produced a cross-court return but she hit the net next as Sindhu held the advantage at the break.

Sindhu continued to dominate proceedings after the break, moving 17-8 ahead when Bingjiao committed a judgemental error at the baseline. Sindhu settled the game after  her opponent hit long and then closed out the game with a cross-court smash.

In the second game, Bingjiao surged to 4-0 lead early on before Sindhu drew parity at 7-7 but the Chinese once again moved ahead to 10-7 when the Indian hit wide.

Bingjiao eventually held a slender 11-9 lead at the break.

A whipping return at the forecourt gave a point to Sindhu but the Chinese managed to soon reach 20-15. The Indian saved one game point before the Chinese sealed it with another delectable return.

In the decider, Bingjiao led 4-2 initially but Sindhu clawed back at 5-5 when the Chinese sent the shuttle to the nets.

The Indian soon started controlling the rallies and grabbed a 11-7 lead at the break.

Bingjiao continued to breathe down Sindhu's neck with her attacking game, narrowing the deficit to 16-17 after the interval.

A good judgement at the baseline after another fierce rally took Sindhu to 18-16. The Indian then earned four match points with Bingjiao going wide and long.

Bingjiao saved two match points before Sindhu sealed the issue when Bingjiao faltered at the net again.

In the men's singles match, Srikanth seemed off-colour as Axelsen towered over the Indian with his better agility and placement.

Srikanth, who had snapped a three-match losing streak against the Dane with a win at the quarterfinals of Denmark Open, dominated the proceedings to notch a comfortable win.

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