Tokyo: Fatigue finally caught up with shuttler PV Sindhu as she was upstaged in straight games but Kidambi Srikanth entered quarterfinals of the USD 700,000 Japan Open badminton tournament here, Thursday.
Sindhu was beaten by World No.14 China’s Gao Fangjie 18-21, 19-21 in the second round, her first preliminary exit in almost a year. She had lost in the opening round at the Denmark Open last October.
Srikanth, however, didn’t break a sweat as he avenged his Asian Games loss to Hong Kong’s Wing Ki Vincent with a clinical 21-15, 21-14 victory to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals. Next up for him is Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
However, it was curtains for the other Indian in the men’s draw, HS Prannoy, as he went down to the upcoming Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 14-21, 17-21.
Sindhu, who has endured a hectic BWF season reaching five finals including three majors at CWG, World Championship and Asian Games, seemed mentally drained as errors crept into her game.
In the women’s singles match, Gao relied on her deception to trouble Sindhu early on and took a 8-2 lead. But Sindhu slowly got her bearings, reaching the shuttles early and placing them perfectly.
She put Gao on the wrong foot to narrow the lead to 8-10 but a weak return going to the net gave a three-point advantage to the Chinese at the interval.
Two unforced errors by Gao helped Sindhu restore parity at 13-13. She grabbed a 17-14 lead but it soon disappeared as she committed a few unforced errors and Gao duly closed out the game.
In the second game, Sindhu opened up a 5-0 lead before committing a service error. Gao soon dominated the rallies and clawed back at 7-7 after producing a winner on Sindhu’s weak return. Gao continued to dominate the rallies and soon grabbed five match points at 20-15. Sindhu saved four before hitting the net again to end her campaign here.
In doubles, the men’s pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy failed to continue their giant-kiiling act and lost 18-21, 21-16, 12-21 to China’s He Jiting and Tan Qiang, while the mixed combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy were beaten 16-21, 16-21 by the Malaysian pair of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in another match.