Saina and Sindhu storm into quarters beating Indonesians
"I want to keep it easy, I know there are lot of expectations, but then Asian Games is not an easy for medal picking. It is a very strenuous tournament."
— PV Sindhu
Jakarta: Olympic medalists Sainia Nehwal and PV Sindhu chalked out emphatic victories over their Indonesian rivals to move into the Women’s singles quarterfinals of the Badminton competition at the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday.
Saina outplayed Indonesian Fitriani Fitriani 21-6, 21-14 in 33 minutes, while Sindhu defeated GM Tunjung 21-12, 21-15, in a 35-minute battle.
In between in the men’s doubles, S RankiReddy and Chirag Shetty failed to hold on to their lead in the decider and went down to Choi Solgyu and Minhyuk Kang 17-21, 21-19, 21-17, the match which lasted for 61 minutes.
In the women’s doubles, any hopes Ashwini Ponnapa and N Sikki Reddy might have entertained of a medal were dashed as the Indian pair lost in the quarterfinal to Chinese duo of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 11-21, 22-24 in 38 minutes.
Chastened by their unexpected defeats in the team event, Saina and Sindhu overwhelmed their rivals, who were backed by partisan crowd that packed the hall.
Saina, and later Sindhu, withstood the noise and din created by the spectators as they clinically dismantled their rivals.
Saina was in control of the proceedings while Fitriani pumped by the crowd support tried to make a match against her much higher ranked rival.
The Indian made short work of her rival in the first game, but had to wait much longer in the second to emerge winner. Fitriani stepped up her game as Saina lost few points due to unforced errors and couple of them because of poor judgment.
However, there was never a crisis moment for the Indian, who raised the bar and wrapped up the game and the match.
“I am feeling good,” said Saina after the match. “It was good match and I played to my plan”
She was candid enough to admit that she was expecting resistance from her rival.
“She is a local girl and expectedly had a crowd support and this was no surprise. But, I played well.”
Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu, started in a whirlwind fashion and after negotiating some early resistance she raced to 13-9 lead, and then conceded three more points to Tunjung before she took the first game 21-12.
The World No 3 Sindhu was equally dominating in the second game in which she took a 11-4 lead, but sudden lapse of concentration enabled her rival to close the gap to12-10.
Most of the points conceded by the Indian were either when she returned wide or failed to judge the landing of the shuttle. Sindhu attacked her rival with powerful smashes and skilful drop shots, which Tunjjung found it hard to return.