Top Indian shuttler P V Sindhu started her campaign at the USD 600,000 Korea Open with a hard-fought win over Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but it was curtains for Parupalli Kashyap in men’s singles event at the Super Series tournament on Wednesday.
Two-time bronze medallist at World Championship, Sindhu eked out a 21-19 21-23 21-13 win over the former World Champion in a women’s singles match that lasted one hour and nine minutes.
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Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap, however, could not cross the opening round hurdle after his battle ended with a narrow 21-17 16-21 18-21 loss against Wei Nan of Hong Kong in an hour-long match.
It was also curtains for Pradnya Gadre and Sikki Reddy in the women’s doubles competition as they suffered a 24-26 9-21 loss to the Japanese pair of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito at the SK Handball stadium.
Sindhu, who came into the match with a 0-3 record against the World No. 5 Intanon, showed her mettle till the end to emerge victories against an opponent who had beaten her in straight-games all three times in 2013.
The two players engaged in a tooth and nail fight from the start as after Sindhu opened up a narrow 4-2 lead in the opening game early on, Intanon turned the tables and moved to a 9-6 advantage.
The Indian reeled off four straight points to wrest back control but after that it turned out a rollercoaster ride as lead changed hands too frequently before Sindhu broke off at 18-18 to close the first game in her favour.
In the second game, Sindhu fought back from 4-7 and 8-12 to jump to 20-15 lead and with a chance to seal the match but Intanon produced six straight points to first topple the Indian and then roared back into the contest.
In the decider, Intanon quickly grabbed a 7-3 lead but the a gritty Sindhu soon clawed back and started dominating the proceedings as she continued to extend the gap which the Thai girl could not bridge.
In the men’s singles match, World No.8 Kashyap was up against an opponent he had beaten in China Open last year.
The Indian started off well to take a take an early lead against Wen.
In fact, Kashyap had a 13-10 lead at one stage in the second game but the Kong Kong shuttler scored five straight points to grab the lead and then at 17-16, produced another four points on the trot to bounce back into the contest.
The second game seemed to boost his confidence as Wen didn’t look back after that. He opened up a 7-4 lead and held on to the advantage even though Kashyap kept breathing down his neck coming as close as 17-18 at one stage.