Star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu notched up a straight game win over lowly-ranked Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi of Singapore in women’s singles competition to advance to the quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Championships in Manila (Philippines) on Thursday. The Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made it to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and world championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth.
Sindhu, seeded fourth, who had claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition, 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. World number 7 Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, has a 7-9 head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, whom she has beaten twice in the last two meetings.
The third seeded mixed doubles duo of Satwik and Chirag too produced a fine performance to sail into the last-eight round with a 21-17, 21-15 win over Japan’s Akira Koga and Taichi Saito. The world number 7 Indian pairing 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 in the prestigious 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 nagging 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 for supremacy between Sindhu and Jaslyn Hooi. At one stage, the Indian was two-point 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 pocket the match.