Denmark Open: PV Sindhu ousted in first round, Saina Nehwal survives scare

first_imgPV Sindhu crashed out of the Denmark Open after a 17-21, 21-16, 18-21 loss to Beiwen Zhang of USA in the first round on Tuesday. This is Sindhu’s only first round exit in 2018 so far.On the other hand, Saina Nehwal survived a scare against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi 20-22, 21-17, 24-22 to enter the second round of the tournament.With the loss, Sindhu now trails Zhang 2-3 in their head-to-head record in BWF tournaments. This is the third traight time that Sindhu has lost a match to Zhang, she last beat her in China Open in 2016 in three games.Sindhu that China Open loss, Zhang has defeated Sindhu thrice, all in three games. Earlier in the year, Zhang had defeated Sindhu in the final of India Open in New Delhi 21-18, 11-21, 22-20.On Tuesday, Sindhu vs Zhang saw a similar pattern that the contest saw in the India Open. Zhang came out attacking Sindhu on the front court and was able to pocket the first game 17-21.Sindhu rallied back in the match with some good display to take the match into the decider. The decider was a close affair till Zhang took control and eked out a close victory.In 2018, Sindhu is yet to win a title even though she has bagged silver medals in India Open, Commonwealth Games, Thailand Open, World Championships and Asian Games.SAINA NEHWAL LABOURS INTO ROUND 2 Saina Nehwal will next face Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in Denmark Open. (Reuters Photo)Saina Nehwal eked out a close victory over Cheung to advance to the second round of Denmark Open, where she will be up against former champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.advertisementSaina was given a massive scare by the player from Hong Kong as the Indian rallied from a game down to win the match.Saina’s soon-to-be-husband Parupalli Kashyap was at the coaching chair giving her inputs throughout the match as Saina battled hard on the court.Kashyap gave inputs like, “just keep the shuttle in play”, “you’re playing well”, “she doesn’t have a lot of options” and “keep your focus”, as Saina found a way around Cheung.Cheung had Saina on the ropes in the first game with her quick gameplay and at one point, the Indian looked down and out but from 12-18 down, Saina fought back to make it 17-18. However, Cheung soon brought up three game points, only for Saina to rally back once more to take it to deuce and let out a massive shriek.Cheung though did not make a mistake after that and took the first game.Saina came back rejuvenated and perhaps a better understanding of Cheung’s gameplay as she dominated proceedings in the second game.Second game onwards, Saina was mostly going for straight strokes as Cheung was retrieving extremely well.Apart from a couple of moments of fightback, Saina took the second game fairly comfortably.The third game was a treat for each and every badminton enthusiast as Saina and Cheung fought tooth and nail for each point.Cheung’s over-the-head play was exemplary while Saina’s net play and deceptive strokes at points were beautiful.At one point it looked like Saina would take the game but Cheung fought back hard to level at 19-19.Saina brought up the first match point only for Cheung to not only level the match but take the next two match points.Saina saved them both and then won the match in a gruelling contest that lasted for an hour and 21 minutes.Later in the day, world no.6 Kidambi Srikanth, who has been seeded seventh in the tournament, will face Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark in the opening round. B Sai Praneeth will take on Huang Yuxiang of China while it will be a difficult opening encounter for Sameer Verma as he will square off against third seed Shi Yuqi of China.In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will face local hope Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the opening round.Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will be up against the Korean combination of Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung in the first round of the mixed doubles competition.Ponnappa, along with N Sikki Reddy, will play the American duo of Ariel Lee and Sydney Lee in the opening round of the women’s doubles event.last_img read more