PV Sindhu Opens Campaign With Resounding Win at Tokyo Olympics
PV Sindhu defeated Israeli Ksenia Polikarpova in 28 minutes in her opening game at the Tokyo Olympics.
India’s badminton ace PV Sindhu opened her campaign at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a regulation win in the first round, seeing off Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova in her Group J match.
Sindhu won the contest at a canter 21-7, 21-10 in 28 minutes.
Sindhu was in sublime form right from the get-go and did not give her opponent an inch in the first game. Sindhu started on an attacking note but briefly found herself trailing 3-4 early on.
However, she quickly fixed that and moved ahead quickly with Polikarpova making unforced errors and entered the break with a 11-5 lead in the first game.
Soon, Sindhu was on a roll, picking up 13 straight points and using her trademark straight and cross court smashes and drops to trouble the Israeli, who couldn't utilise the few opportunities that came her way.
The sixth seed was in no mood to relent as kicked off her campaign, hoping to go one better from Silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she lost to Carolina Marin in a thrilling final.
After quickly winning the first game, Sindhu continued to work with the momentum and wrapped up her second game with relative ease to register the win.
Polikarpova, who was playing with a strapped knee, continued to struggle with her strokes as Sindhu opened up a 9-3 lead in the second game and then entered the mid-interval with a massive seven-point advantage.
It was business as well after the break, with Sindhu riding on the errors of her opponent.
Another wide shot from Polikarpova gave Sindhu 13 match points. The Indian squandered three of them before Polikarpova once again sent the shuttle out to end the match.
Ksenia is ranked 58th on the BWF World Rankings, while Sindhu is seventh however, Sindhu went into the match very focused and played her usual game.
"Even though my opponent was lower-ranked, I didn't want to assume it would be easy. It is important to be focused. I made sure we had some rallies and I got used to the court," Sindhu was quoted as saying in flash quotes provided by Badminton World Federation (BWF).
Sindhu said she used the match as preparation for tougher opponents that she will encounter in the knockout stage.
"It's important to make sure you play all your strokes and get used to them on the court because you can't play them all of a sudden against a stronger opponent, you can't do that. It's important to know that your strokes are going well," she said.
Sindhu said she will continue with the same approach in the next match against Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong in the three-player group from which the winner will qualify for the pre-quarterfinals.
"Each match is important, and it's one match at a time. I'm thinking about my next opponent (Cheung Ngan Yi). I will miss the spectators, but everyone is supporting me virtually."
Asked about the pressure as she is hoping to add to the silver medal she won in 2016 Rio, Sindhu said she is taking the Tokyo Olympics as a fresh tournament and not thinking much about the past.
"Tokyo is a fresh start, and it's important to be ready every day. Everybody will be in top form. I came with that mindset, and I'm not thinking of the past, but what's ahead."
If she wins her second Group J match, Sindhu has some tough opponents lined up in the knockout stage as she is scheduled to play third seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the pre-quarter finals.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
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