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PV Sindhu’s double role in India’s opening act at Badminton Asia Team Championships

PV Sindhu won two matches, singles and then in doubles, to guide India to a 3-2 victory over Hong Kong in Badminton Asia Team Championships on Tuesday. The Indian men’s team thrashed Philippines 5-0 in their opener.

other sports Updated: Feb 06, 2018 21:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Press Trust of India, Alor Setar (Malaysia)
PV Sindhu,Saina Nehwal,Ashwini Ponnappa
PV Sindhu pulled double duty to power India to a 3-2 win over Hong Kong in the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

India’s star PV Sindhu was in top form on Tuesday as the Rio Olympics silver medallist displayed her top level skills, not just in singles but also in women’s doubles to give India a 3-2 win in their opening Group W round against Hong Kong in the Badminton Asia Team Championships.

The 22-year-old Sindhu led the Indian women’s team from the front to notch a crucial win at the Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim in Alor Setar, Malaysia. They will take on Japan in their second and final group match on Thursday for a place in the quarterfinals.

READ | India get easy draw in mixed badminton team event of Commonwealth Games 2018

With London Olympics bronze medallist World No.10 Saina Nehwal pulling out of the tournament, citing a groin injury, the burden to carry India forward fell on three-time World Championships medallist Sindhu.

The tournament is also serving as the qualifying event for the prestigious Uber Cup that will be held in Bangkok in May. The semi-finalists in Malaysia will get direct qualification for the Uber Cup.

World No.4 Sindhu quickly recovered from her heartbreaking loss in the India Open final in New Delhi on Sunday to beat Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 21-12, 21-18 in 33 minutes in the first singles match.

But thereafter, India went on the back foot as they lost two back-to-back matches to go 1-2 down.

Former World Championships bronze medallist Ashwini Ponnappa and Prajakta Sawant played their heart out but went down 22-20, 20-22, 10-21 to Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting in a 52-minute women’s doubles clash.

READ | Indians have task cut out at Asia Team Badminton Championship

Then young Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli took the court against Cheung Ying Mei but her fight ended with a 19-21, 21-18, 20-22 loss in an hour and six minutes, the longest contest of the tie, in the second singles as India trailed in the five-match tie.

Sindhu truly proved her mettle as she then combined with friend N Sikki Reddy to win the second doubles game, something that is not her forte. The two Indian girls notched a 21-15, 15-21, 21-14 win in 48 minutes over Ng Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying to level the tie at 2-all.

After Sindhu’s victory under pressure, it eventually boiled down to the third and final women’s singles match between India’s Ruthvika Shivani Gadde and Hong Kong’s Yeung Sum Yee.

India looked well and out of the contest when Ruthvika lost the first game 16-21 but she rallied back to clinch the next two 21-16, 21-13 to give India the vital win.

READ | PV Sindhu goes down to Beiwen Zhang in final, fails to defend India Open badminton crown

Later in the day, the Indian men’s team, boasting of singles shuttlers like World No.5 Kidambi Srikanth, Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma, thrashed Philippines 5-0 in their opening Group D clash. Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and Verma won their singles matches while Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy and MR Arjun/Shlok Ramchandran won the doubles ties.

The top two teams from each group will proceed to the last eight.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 14:58 IST