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Sindhu demolishes Cheung on way to pre-quarter-finals

Last updated on: July 28, 2021 16:42 IST
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Sai Praneeth fails to make knock-out stage

Sindhu will take on Denmark's world No. 12 Mia Blichfeldt next.

India's Pusarla V Sindhu in action during her Olympics women's singles match against Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi, at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

IMAGE: India's Pusarla V Sindhu in action during her Olympics women's singles match against Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi, at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, on Wednesday. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger

India’s Pusarla V Sindhu romped into the women’s singles badminton pre-quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics after a fluent victory over Hong Kong's N Y Cheung in a Group J match, but it was curtains for men's singles player B Sai Praneeth, on Wednesday.

 

The 26-year-old reigning World champion, who won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, beat the world No. 34 21-9, 21-16 in 35 minutes.

It was her sixth victory over Cheung in as many meetings.

13th seed Praneeth failed to bring his 'A' game to the table once again and went down 14-21, 14-21 to Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in 40 minutes. It was his second defeat in Group D.

Caljow topped the group to qualify for the knock-out stage. Only the group toppers advance to the knock-outs.

"I found my rhythm from the second game on and I finished it off. It was a fast game and I made a couple of unforced errors," Sindhu said after the match.

"I changed my tactics and got things under control. This type of test is important before a big match," she added. 

The world No. 7 will meet Denmark's world number 12 Mia Blichfeldt, who topped Group I.

Sindhu has a 4-1 head-to-head record against Blichfeldt, whose only win against the Indian was at the Yonex Thailand Open earlier this year.

Talking about her next against Blichfeldt, Sindhu said: "It's not going to be an easy game. I need to recover well and come back stronger. I've played her a couple of times, every point is going to be important. She's an aggressive player so I need to be aggressive as well."

The shuttler from Hyderabad, seeded sixth, defeated Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel in her opening match.

Sindhu used a repertoire of strokes and varied the pace to trouble the Hong Kong player.

Cheung scored a few points with her deceptive cross-court returns but committed many unforced errors.

Sindhu led 6-2 early on before racing to 10-3. She committed a rare error before the interval at 11-5, but was untroubled after resumption as she breezed to 20-9 and pocketed the opening game when Cheung netted a return.

Looking to script an incredible turnaround in the second game, Cheung extended the rallies and Sindhu had difficulty controlling the shuttle.

The scores ran neck and neck at 6-6 and 8-8 before Cheung forged ahead when Sindhu sent the shuttle wide.

Cheung tried to put pressure on Sindhu but the Indian came up with better stroke-play, which included a few straight down the line smashes.

Sindhu moved to 19-14 before grabbing six match-points. She netted a return to squander two match-points before sealing the issue with a smash.

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