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All England Open 2021: PV Sindhu storms into quarters, Sai Praneeth goes down fighting

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu
FEATURED COLUMNIST

World champion PV Sindhu barely broke a sweat in her dominating 21-8, 21-8 win over World No. 45 Line Christophersen to enter the quarter-finals of the All England Open 2021 in Birmingham on Thursday.

Meanwhile, World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth squandered a good start to go down fighting 21-15, 12-21, 12-21 against defending champion Viktor Axelsen. Sai joined HS Prannoy and the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on a day of mixed fortunes for India.

Earlier in the day, 19-year-old Lakshya Sen produced a scintillating performance to become the youngest Indian to enter the quarter-finals of the All England Open. Sen needed 53 minutes to diffuse the challenge of France's Thomas Rouxel in a 21-18, 21-17 win.

Sindhu faces Yamaguchi in All England Open quarters

Akane Yamaguchi will be a big test for PV Sindhu at the All England Open 2021
Akane Yamaguchi will be a big test for PV Sindhu at the All England Open 2021

PV Sindhu was on point right from the word go and was hardly bothered by Christophersen in their first-ever meeting. The Indian opened up a 6-1 lead and won the next eight points before the Dane could put up a brief resistance. Sindhu soon wrested control of the proceedings to finish the opening game at 21-8.

It was a similar story in the second game. The Dane trailed Sindhu 5-11 at the mid-game interval before the Rio Olympic silver medallist raced away to complete the 21-8, 21-8 win in just 25 minutes.

The fifth seed will take on third seed Akane Yamaguchi next in a blockbuster quarter-final clash. The Japanese did not even have to play a point on the second day of the All England Open as she got a walkover following the withdrawal of Nesilhan Yigit. The Turkish shuttler was on the same flight as the Indonesian contingent, who too were forced to pull out due to a passenger testing positive.

Sindhu has a 10-7 lead over Yamaguchi in the head-to-head record but has lost her last three matches to the diminutive Japanese. Needless to say, the Indian would need to be at her flawless best to turn the tables on Yamaguchi for the first time since 2018.

Sameer Verma, the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and the women's doubles combine of Ashwini Ponnappa/Sikki Reddy will be in action later in the day at the All England Open.

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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