New Delhi: Young Indian shuttler Ashmita Chaliha recorded the first upset of the India Open when she stunned fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya while top seed PV Sindhu sailed into the women’s singles second round of the tournament here Tuesday. Reigning World Champion Loh Kean Yew was stretched to three games while home favourite Kidambi Srikanth registered a convincing win in their respective men’s singles first round matches of the World Tour 500 tournament series event that began here Monday.
Loh defeated Canada’s Xiaodong Sheng 16-21, 21-4, 21-13 while Srikanth packed off former junior World No. 1 Siril Verma 21-17, 21-10 to advance to the second round.
Earlier in day, unseeded Chaliha took just 31 minutes to get the better of World No.28 Russian 24-22, 21-16. Meanwhile double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu cruised past compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-5, 21-16 in her opening round. Sindhu took things easily in the second game after completely dominating the show in the first.
However, it was curtains for Chirag Sen as he lost 8-21, 7-21 to Soong Joo Ven of Malaysia in men’s singles.
In her opener, Chaliha began strongly by employing her down-the-line smashes to open up an 11-5 lead. However, the Indian made a lot of errors after the break and Kosetsyaka pounced on the opportunity to first level the score at 14-14 and then fight back from 16-19 to earn her first game point.
But the girl from Guwahati managed to regroup. She forced her opponent to make an unforced error and then saved two more game points before clinching the opener with a smash.
The second game followed a similar trajectory as Chaliha opened up an 11-4 lead, only for the Russian to close in to 19-16. However, the Indian was more in control this time around and kept her cool under pressure to finish off the match in 31 minutes.
Sindhu will play the winner of the match between Egypt’s Hany Doha and India’s Ira Sharma. Srikanth will face Denmark’s Kim Brunn, who defeated India’s Subhankar Dey 21-19, 18-21, 21-14 in one hour and 15 minutes.
The easy win notwithstanding, Sindhu said polishing one’s skill set during the off-season is key to success in a competitive sport like badminton. “Definitely, I need to tune my game a lot more and work on my skills, also add more weapons because everybody is going to read your game,” Sindhu said. “So it is important to change your game against that player because nowadays they watch your previous matches, so you have to strategise accordingly,” Sindhu insisted.