Back in action after her semifinal defeat in Finland last week, PV Sindhu registered a hard-fought opening-round win against Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour at the Denmark Open in Odense on Tuesday. A former finalist at this event, Sindhu needed 53 minutes to win 21-14, 18-21, 21-10 against the world No 28.
Also progressing further was Aakarshi Kashyap, who registered a superb comeback against Germany’s world No 26 Yvonne Li 10-21 22-20 21-12.
Elsewhere, though, there wasn’t much good news for Indian shuttlers. Newly crowned World No. 1 men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pulled out from the tournament ahead of their first-round match against Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yii.
Former World No. 1 and a winner of this event in 2017, Srikanth Kidambi went down in three games against China’s Weng Hong Yang 19-21 21-10 21-16. Ending India’s contention in men’s singles, Lakshya Sen went down in straight games against Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangchareon. The World No. 33 won 21-16 21-18. HS Prannoy, the Indian No 1, had pulled out of the tournament (as well as upcoming French Open) due to the back injury he played through at the Asian Games.
Missing clinical edge
Sindhu, who has been struggling for consistent results this year, showed glimpses of her attacking best last week at the Arctic Open where she went down against Wang Zhi Yi eventually. Her meeting on Tuesday against Gilmour wasn’t her most clinical effort as she struggled in the second game after clinching the opener rather comfortably. Gilmour, a veteran on the tour, troubled Sindhu at the net and the Indian couldn’t find the lines with her attacks.
But the former world champion recovered well to take control of the decider early and went into the final change of ends leading 11-2 as Gilmour started making more errors. In the end, Sindhu coasted home to set up a tough second-round clash against Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.
“I’m slowly coming back. I’ll have to take a lot of positives from this (week) and at the same time learn from my mistakes and return stronger,” Sindhu told BWF in Finland. She would have to be at her best against Tunjung, the seventh seed, who has beaten the Indian twice in their last three meetings. Sindhu, however, has an 8-2 record against the former junior World Champ and won their last meeting in Tunjung’s backyard.
Kashyap, for her part, produced a memorable turnaround against Li, who had won all their previous three meetings in straight games. The match on Tuesday also seemed to be headed in the same direction as Li led 21-10, 18-11. But Kashyap, who has been promoted to the main draw from the reserves, turned things around to take the second game 22-20. The decider was actually comfortably won by the Indian.
Srikanth and Sen’s defeats in men’s singles mean that only Sindhu and Kashyap remain standing at the event from India.