Asian Championships: Kashyap, Sindhu enter second round
Parupalli Kashyap pulled off a tight three-game win in the first round of the Badminton Asia Championships on a day of mixed fortunes for India.
Kashyap’s compatriots in the singles department, Sai Praneeth and PV Sindhu, too entered the second round, but the doubles teams did not have a memorable day.
Kashyap split the first two games with Korea’s Hong Ji Hoon, and had to fight hard to confirm his place in the next round. Although he led 19-16 at one point, Hong refused to let go, and equalised at 19. The Korean saved one match point before falling on the second, enabling Kashyap to win 18-21 21-15 22-20.
Sai Praneeth was untroubled by Mohd Ajfan Rasheed and got past him in just 22 minutes, 21-10 21-12, while Sindhu earned an impressive win over Hong Kong’s Tsz Ka Chan. The Indian took the first game comfortably at 21-18, but the second was a neck-and-neck affair until 13, after which Sindhu slowly pulled ahead. Although she had five match points at 20-15, the Hong Kong player kept closing in, winning four points on the trot before the Indian finally sealed victory.
Among the Indian casualties on the day were Tarun Kona/Ashwini Ponnappa, Arun Vishnu/Aparna Balan and Akshay Dewalkar/Pradnya Gadre (mixed doubles), Aparna Balan/Sikki Reddy (women’s doubles), Pranaav Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar, Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy, and Tarun Kona/Arun Vishnu (men’s doubles).
However, Pradnya Gadre/Ashwini Ponnappa managed to beat Chinese Taipei pair Wang Pei Rong/Wen Kuo Yu in a match that was the closest-fought on the day. The Indians won the first game comfortably, 21-12, but had to survive a dogfight in the second. From 14-all onwards, neither team managed a two-point lead. The Indians had seven match points, while the Taipei pair had two game points, and it was eventually the Indians who scratched through, 30-29.