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Sindhu, Saina, Jayaram, Verma advance at Hong Kong Open

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Hong Kong, Nov 24 (IANS) Indians enjoyed a good outing at the ongoing Hong Kong Open badminton tournament with P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ajay Jayaram and Sameer Verma winning their respective singles matches here on Thursday.

In the women's singles, Sindhu defeated Hsu Ya Ching of Taiwan 21-10, 21-14 in 36 minutes while Saina faced a much more difficult task against Sayaka Sato of Japan before prevailing 21-18, 9-21, 21-16 in 51 minutes. In the men's singles, Jayaram beat China's Huang Yuxiang 21-18, 21-19 while Verma won 19-21, 21-15, 21-11 over Kazumasa Sakai of Japan in 53 minutes.

However, H.S. Prannoy crashed out of the men's singles competition after going down fighting to Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia here on Thursday.

Prannoy started off on a promising note at the Hong Kong Coliseum before going down 21-15, 11-21, 15-21 over 58 minutes in the second round encounter.

Sindhu, who had won the China Open a few days ago, was off to a poor start with Ching taking an early 4-1 lead. But the Olympic bronze medallist soon recovered to level the scores before winning five consecutive points to lead 9-5.

The Hyderabad shuttler continued to push home her dominance, building on the advantage with another five-point streak before clinching the first game with four back to back points.

The Taiwan shuttler produced more of a fight in the second game, going neck and neck with Sindhu till 12-12 before the Indian opened up a three-point lead at 15-12.

Although Ching tried to stage a comeback, Sindhu went on another rampaging run of five points to clinch the game and the match.

Saina faced a strong challenge from Sato, with the duo fighting it out till 12-12 in the opening game. But the London Olympics bronze medallist dominated the game from thereon, taking a 17-12 lead and maintained the advantage till the end.

The Japanese came back strongly in the second game, opening up a 7-1 lead early on. With Saina struggling to score, Sato increased her lead steadily before winning the game to level the scores.

The third game was a closely contested affair with both shuttlers fighting hard for the points.

Saina took a 7-1 lead in the early stages but Sato did well to pull level at 8-8. The lead changed hands at regular intervals but Saina managed a three-point lead 18-15 before clinching the issue.

The day had however, started on a disappointing note for the Indian contingent with Prannoy going down to Chong.

Prannoy wrested the advantage early in the first game, opening up a 9-7 lead. Chong fought back to restore parity before the Indian won four consecutive points to lead at 13-9.

Prannoy never looked back from there and another four-point streak enabled him to force game point at 20-14.

Although his opponent managed to hold off one game point, Prannoy did not have to wait long, taking the very next point to win the opening game.

The second game was a hard fought affair in the early stages before the Hong Kong shuttler won five back to back points to open up a formidable 14-7 lead.

Another streak, this time of four points, saw him increase the advantage to 18-9. Although Prannoy won a couple of points more, it was not enough to stop Chong from taking the game and restoring parity.

Chong stamped his authority right at the start of the third and decisive set by taking a 6-0 lead.

Not to be outdone, Prannoy fought back to level the scores at 8-8.

The game was a tense, neck and neck affair till 14-14, when Chong won four consecutive points to lead 18-14. He never looked back from there, going on to win the game and the match.

--IANS

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