China Open: Kashyap advances to 2nd round; Sindhu goes down fighting
India’s top ranked men’s singles player Parupalli Kashyap stormed into the second round of the Li Ning China Open Badminton Championship, outplaying Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen in straight games 21-15, 21-15.
The world no.23 seized the initiative from the word go and never allowed the 42nd ranked Swedish opponent to find his range. The Indian pulled off clinical winners at crucial times and took the opening game 21-15.
Down by a game, Hurskainen had to go all out to keep the contest competitive, but Kashyap was in no mood to have a down-to-the-wire match. The Hyderabadi lad kept outsmarting the Swede on both flanks and closed out the second game with an identical scoreline like the first game.
Kashyap will now meet seventh seed and world number 11 Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in the second round. The Indian should fancy his chances against Nguyen, having upset him at the 2012 London Olympics. Kashyap has a 3-3 head-to-head career record against Nguyen.
Barring Kashyap’s facile opening round triumph, the Indian campaign in singles came to an end.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu – the country’s second highest ranked shuttler after Saina Nehwal – was up against Japan’s world number 14 Eriko Hirose.
The match witnessed a tight contest, with the Japanese girl clinching the opening game 22-20. Losing the first game by the narrowest of margins, Sindhu – the world number 25 – came out all guns blazing in the second game, taking Hirose by the scruff of the neck, winning 21-14 to take the tussle into a decider.
The final game saw both players give nothing away. In the end, Hirose prevailed over the Indian 21-19 in a match that lasted over an hour.
India endured more disappointment in the men’s singles; Ajay Jayaram lost to Malaysia’s Darren Liew. Jayaram lost the opening game narrowly at 18-21 before staging a superb fightback to level things, winning the second game 21-16.
The Indian – ranked 27th in the world – went off the boil, committing a slew of unforced errors and conceded the decider 14-21.
Another Indian, RMV Gurusaidutt, also crashed out in the first round. Gurusaidutt went down tamely in the opening game, losing it 11-21 before pulling up his socks to take the second game 21-13. The 44th ranked Indian failed to step on the gas in the decider and lost 11-21.