Badminton Asia Championships: Hirose powers past PV Sindhu, ends India's challenge
Rising Indian star PV Sindhu faltered in the quarterfinals of the prestigious Badminton Asia Championships to Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose on Friday.
Sindhu, who had upset third seed Wang Shixian of China in the previous round, won the second game but her challenge was snuffed out by Hirose 21-19 16-21 21-11. The result was a repeat of their only encounter in November last year, at the China Open. Sindhu mounted a strong challenge to Hirose through the first two games, before capitulating in the third.
Hirose won a close first game. She led by narrow margins for the most part, but Sindhu managed to keep her opponent within sight, and indeed did well to level out a 10-14 deficit. After 14-all, however, Hirose steadily gained on her again, and took the first game 21-19.
The Japanese veteran continued on that momentum to build a sizeable lead in the second game. She went 8-4 up, but Sindhu fought back doggedly, and eventually managed to level at 13-all. After 14-all, the Indian took the next five points to virtually seal the game. Hirose saved one game point but could not prevent Sindhu from converting the second.
Hirose, a defensive, rallying player like the other Japanese, used all her experience to keep her nose ahead in the decisive third game. From 5-all she inched ahead, and took the decisive lead at the break. Sindhu was unable to get things right as Hirose asserted her dominance, and from 13-10, she shot ahead to 20-10, making the result a foregone conclusion. The match took exactly one hour. Sindhu’s loss brought down curtains on the Indian challenge.
Meanwhile, in another quarterfinal bout, world No.2 Wang Yihan survived a scare against Chinese Taipei prodigy Tai Tzu Ying. Tai won the first game, but Yihan prevailed 19-21 21-18 21-10, in a match that went beyond an hour.
China however suffered two reverses in the men’s doubles. Fourth seeds Hong Wei/Shen Ye and seventh seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan both bit the dust.