Sindhu & Nehwal Crash Out in Quarters of All England Championships
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal lost in the quarterfinals of the All England Championships at Birmingham on Friday.
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India's campaign at the All England Open Badminton Championships came to an end as women's singles shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal suffered defeats in the quarterfinals at Birmingham on Friday.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist failed to overcome world number one Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei, while Saina Nehwal lost 22-20, 22-20 to world number three Sung Ji-hyun.
The world number six Sindhu, who had beaten Tzu-ying on route to her Rio Games silver, was erratic and couldn't break the defence of the Chinese Taipei shuttler and went down 14-21 10-21 in 34 minutes at the Barclaycard Arena. With this win, the world number one entered her third successive semifinals of the prestigious tournament.
Whereas, the world number nine Saina Nehwal, who led the head-to-head record 6-1 to Sung Ji-hyun before the match, put up a strong fight but failed to pull it off at critical junctures of the match.
Nehwal was leading 17-13 in the first game before Ji-hyun fought back and made it 17-16.
Therafter, the Korean took the lead at 19-17. The eighth seed Indian shuttler crawled back to make it 20-20, but then the world number three held her nerve and closed out the game.
In the second game, the Korean took a 3-0 lead straightaway before Nehwal played some brilliant shots and levelled the score at 3-3.
The duo were neck-to-neck until 16-15 (Ji-hyun), after which, Nehwal made a few unforced errors and the Korean had a match point at 20-17.
The number eight seed didn’t give up and got to 20-20, but like the first game, it was the Korean, who managed to close out the game and she moved into the semifinals.
Earlier in the day, Sindhu opened up a 10-7 lead in the first game, but her opponent fought back with her deceptive cross court returns to not only draw level but also take the lead with another acute angled stroke on Sindhu's backhand.
Tzu-ying engaged in a fierce rally but it ended with Sindhu hitting the net. A sharp drop shot from back of the court helped Sindhu to draw parity. But the Chinese Taipei player managed to surge to a 17-12 lead with the Indian hitting wide and long and at the nets.
Sindhu tried to change the pace but Tzu-ying was always a step ahead and she eventually earned the bragging rights when the Indian lost a video referral.
After the change of ends, Tzu-ying opened up a 6-2 lead with Sindhu's strokes going to the net. The Indian was good but Tzu-ying was better. The Chinese Taipei player's movement and accuracy, timing and variety of strokes made her a difficult customer to tame. The result was Tzu-ying soon marched to a 8-3 lead.
The top seed followed her strokes well and was also fast in approaching the net. She played with soft hands at the nets and caught up the Indian at the fore court to gather points.
Soon she was leading 11-5.
After the breather, Tzu-ying continued to gather points with her superb footwork and strokes even though Sindhu did pocket a few points here and there, but she was largely erratic with many strokes going long.
Another video referral went Tzu-ying's way and she reached the match point with a cross court smash, which Sindhu sent to the net and the Chinese Taipei girl came up with another razor-sharp smash to seal the match.
Only two Indians – Prakash Padukone and current India’s chief coach P Gopichand – have managed to win titles at the world's oldest tournament. While Padukone won in 1980, Gopichand was the champion in 2001.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
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