Erratic Sindhu scrapes past Vu Thi

STRUGGLE: India's PV Sindhu in action against Vu Thi Trang of Vietnam in the women's singles badminton match in Jakarta on Thursday. PTI

P V Sindhu was given a tough workout by unheralded Vietnamese Vu Thi Trang before she made the second round of the women’s singles in Asian Games badminton on Thursday.

At the GBK indoor stadium, Trang, ranked 52 in the world, almost knocked out Sindhu before the Indian third seed forced a dramatic 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 victory to squeak through.

On the first day of the individual events, India’s other contenders largely enjoyed good outings. Saina Nehwal had an easy run against Iran’s Soraya Aghaeihajiagha, winning 21-7, 21-9 while the men’s doubles pair of Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty breezed through with a 21-12, 21-14 verdict against Chung Yenny and Tam Chun Hei of Hong Kong China.

Manu Attri and Sumeet Reddy also won their first round match against Thaif Mohamed and Mohamed Rasheed of Maldives 21-10, 21-8.

In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy defeated Ng Wing Young and Young Na Ting of Hong Kong China 21-16, 21-15 but Arathi Sara Sunil and Rituparna Panda were knocked out by Thailand’s Chayanit Chaladchalam and Phatamas Muenwong 21-11, 21-6 in the only setback.

On the adjacent court, Sindhu seemed to be slipping to the same fate when she lapsed into a plethora of errors after sailing through the first game. What seemed like a romp became a painful process as she frequently hit the shuttle wide. Her movement too seemed sluggish and with the errors mounting from the Indian’s racquet, the Vietnamese brought the score level quickly.

Sindhu really had to pull herself together in the decider. She struggled to arrest the mistakes and the shuttle kept going wide in the initial part. She had to fight for every point but from 11-11, the third seed slowly started pulling away.

Trang, though, wasn’t ready to give up. Leading 18-15, Sindhu committed two unforced errors, netting a return and hitting one wide to allow Trang to close the gap. A close line call then went Trang’s way bringing the scores level. 

In a toe-to-toe finale, Sindhu had a match point at 21-20 but she was forced to wait as another close line call went Trang’s way, upsetting the Indian. In a lucky turnaround, the Vietnamese netted a return and Sindhu then fired a smash cross court for a winner to walk off court a relieved lady.

“I have never played her before but I didn’t take it easy. There were a lot of errors from my part and the drift also caused a problem,” said Sindhu, who rejected suggestions that she was tired after some tough matches of late.

Sindhu also spoke about the absence of reviews here, with regard to the disputed line-call in the third game. “I was upset about the call as anything could have happened then. A couple of lucky points for her and she would have been the winner.”

Sindhu, who is seeded to meet Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the semifinals, next plays Tunjung Gregoria Mariska of Indonesia. Saina’s next opponent will also be an Indonesian, Fitriani Fitriani. 

 

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