Top Indian shuttler PV Sindhu started her campaign at the Korea Open badminton tournament with a hard-fought win over Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but it was curtains for Parupalli Kashyap in men’s singles event at the Super Series tournament on Wednesday.
Two-time bronze medallist at the World Championship, Sindhu sketched out a 21-19, 21-23, 21-13 win over the former world champion in the women’s singles match that lasted one hour and nine minutes.
Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap, however, could not cross the opening round. His battle ended with a narrow 21-17, 16-21, 18-21 loss against Wei Nan of Hong Kong in an hour-long match.
There was also disappointment for Pradnya Gadre and Sikki Reddy in the women’s doubles competition as they suffered a 24-26, 9-21 loss to the Japanese pair of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito at the SK Handball stadium.
Sindhu, who came into the match with a 0-3 record against the World No. 5 Intanon, showed her mettle till the end to emerge victorious against an opponent who had beaten her in straight-games all three times in 2013.
The two players engaged in a tooth and nail fight from the start. Sindhu opened up a narrow 4-2 lead early on but Intanon turned the tables and moved to a 9-6 advantage.
The Indian reeled off four straight points to get back control but after that it was a rollercoaster ride. Leads changed hands very frequently but Sindhu broke off at 18-18 to close the first game in her favour.
In the second game, Sindhu fought back from 4-7 and 8-12 to jump to a 20-15 lead with a chance to seal the match. But Intanon produced six straight points to topple the Indian to roar back into the contest.
In the decider, Intanon quickly grabbed a 7-3 lead but the a gritty Sindhu soon clawed back and started dominating the proceedings as she continued to extend the gap which the Thai girl could not bridge.
In the men’s singles match, World No.8 Kashyap was up against an opponent he had beaten in China Open last year.
The Indian started off well to take an early lead against Wei Nan. In fact, Kashyap had a 13-10 lead at one stage in the second game but the Hong Kong shuttler scored five straight points to grab the lead and then at 17-16, produced another four points on the trot to bounce back into the contest.
Riding on the confidence of the first game, tn the second one Nan didn’t look back. He opened up a 7-4 lead and held on to the advantage even though Kashyap kept breathing down his neck coming as close as 17-18 at one stage.