Sports

Sindhu, Satwik-Chirag into quarters; Srikanth, Saina out


PV Sindhu was the last Indian left standing in the singles draw, clinching a straight game win over Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi of Singapore to advance to the quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Championships in Manila, Philippines on Thursday. The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made it to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth.

Fourth seed Sindhu defeated Jaslyn Hooi, ranked 100th, 21-16, 21-16 in 42 minutes to set up a clash against third seed Chinese He Bing Jiao, whom she had beaten for a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. The world No 7 Sindhu has a 7-9 head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, whom she has beaten twice in the last two meetings.

The third seeded duo of Satwik and Chirag too produced a fine performance to sail into the last-eight with a 21-17, 21-15 win over Japan’s Akira Koga and Taichi Saito. The world number 7 pair will next face either fifth seeded Malaysian combination of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik or Singaporean duo of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Jun Liang Andy Kwek.

However, Saina’s dream of claiming her fourth medal at the tournament ended after she ran out of steam to eventually lose 21-12, 7-21, 13-21 to 22-year-old Chinese Wang Zhi Yi, ranked 16th in the world. Saina is on a comeback trail after recovering from some injuries and had skipped the selection trials for the upcoming major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup.

Srikanth, seeded seventh, too couldn’t step up his game when it mattered, going down narrowly to China’s Weng Hong Yang 16-21, 21-17, 17-21 in a men’s singles second round match that lasted an hour and 17 minutes.

Earlier, despite the huge difference in their rankings, it was a tight battle between Sindhu and Jaslyn Hooi. At one stage, the Indian was two points behind at 7-9 against her opponent, who managed to take a slender 11-10 lead at the interval but Sindhu stepped up and levelled 16-16 before pocketing the opening game.

The Indian managed to move to a 12-8 advantage in the second game after an initial fight following a change of sides. The Singaporean erased the deficit, coming as close as 15-16, before Sindhu once again stepped on the gas to end the match.



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