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Sports Shorts: Sindhu, Sameer make impressive starts

Last updated on: June 05, 2019 19:43 IST

PV Sindhu

IMAGE: PV Sindhu. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI
 
India had a mixed day at the 150,000 Australian Open World Tour Super 300 badminton tournament, in Sydney, on Wednesday.

Top shuttlers P V Sindhu and Sameer Verma progressed to the second round, but HS Prannoy made an early exit.

 

World No 5 Sindhu, a silver medallist at Rio Olympics and 2017 and 2018 World Championships, defeated Indonesia's Choirunnisa 21-14, 21-9 in the women's singles.

The Indian ace will meet experienced Thai Nitchaon Jindapol next.

Sixth seed Sameer exacted revenge over Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia, winning 21-15, 16-21, 21-12 in a thrilling opening round men's singles match. The Indian had lost to Lee at the Sudirman Cup last month.

The 25-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, who reached the semi-finals at World Tour Finals, will square off against Chinese Taipei's Wang Tzu Wei in the second round.

Among others, former Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth, who reached the final at the Swiss Open this year, beat Korea's Lee Dong Keun 21-16, 21-14, to set up a clash with second seed Indonesian Anthony Sinisuka Ginting next.

Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap also cleared the opening hurdle, entering the second round with a 21-16, 21-15 win over Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon. He will meet Lin Dan, who recently won the Malaysia Open.

However, Prannoy found the going tough against Lin Dan and went down 18-21 19-21 to the eighth seeded Chinese legend.

In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated compatriots Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy 21-12, 21-16 to enter the second round.

The young duo will next fight it o14-21, 13-21 to the Korean combination of Baek Ha Na and Kim Hye Rin.

Indian hockey team starts quest for Olympic berth in FIH Series Finals

The Indian men's hockey team embarks on a new journey under recently-appointed chief coach Graham Reid as the eight-time champions start its quest for 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification with the FIH Series Finals, which begins in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Eight teams from Asia, Europe, Africa and North America will battle it out for two places in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to held in October-November later this year.

Besides top-ranked India, the other participating teams in Pool A are Poland, Russia and Uzbekistan while Pool B consists of South Africa, Asian Games champions Japan, USA and Mexico.

Placed fifth in world rankings, India will start the tournament as overwhelming favourites, given the vast gap between the hosts and other teams in terms of quality, skills and stature in world hockey.

South Africa at 16 and Japan at 18 are the next closest sides in the tournament in terms of rankings.

India will open its campaign against minnows Russia and expected to win the encounter by a huge margin but to finish on top the hosts will have to overcome their knock-out jitters as has been the case in the past.

India's best chance to qualify for the Olympics was through the Jakarta Asian Games but they failed to qualify for the final after losing to Malaysia in the semifinals.

In this year's Azlan Shah Cup too India failed to claim the title despite being the top side, losing to South Korea in the summit clash.

The FIH Series Finals is India's first step towards qualifying for the Tokyo Games.

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