Jakarta: Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal advanced to the women’s singles quarterfinals after easily beating their opponents in the Asian Games, here Saturday.
Sindhu outwitted local player Gregoria Tunjung 21-12, 21-15 in 35 minutes while Saina dispatched another crowd favourite Fitriani, ranked 40th, 21-6, 21-14.
However, in men’s doubles the duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went down 17-21, 21-19, 17-21 against Korea’s Choi Solgyu and Min Hyuk Kang.
In the Sindhu-Gregoria match, the Indian never allowed her rival to lead in both the games. In the first game Sindhu jumped to 8-1 lead and the closest that Greogria came to narrow it was 11-8 at the interval. Sindhu’s speedy control of the shuttle proved too much for the Indonesian.
In the second game, Sindhu moved to a 6-2 and extended it to 11-4 at the break. With the crowd rooting for her, Gregoria managed to make it 12-15 after winning eight of the next 12 points. However, Sindhu’s experience stood her in good stead as she reached to 20-15 and won when Gregoria hit long.
In the other women’s singles match, whatever resistance Saina faced was in the second game as Fitriani, backed by the fans, led 8-5 but the Indian never allowed her rival to shift the momentum.
Saina hit very deep with acute angles which Fitriani struggled to contend with. Fitriani hit a smash over the lines, attacking the backhand side of Saina at 19-14 to give the Indian her first match point. Another return from Fitriani sailed over the baseline, sending Saina to the last-eight stage.
“It’s an easy win but she (Fitriani) is a tough opponent to play with. She did well against (Nozomi) Okuhora in the team championship. There were pretty long rallies and crowd was also supporting her. The conditions were also tough today, there was more drift,” Saina said after the match.
“I have played a lot of finals here so I am used to it but every match is new, so it is still difficult. My movement was good today,” added the London Olympics bronze medallist