PV Sindhu emerged victorious in a hard-fought match against Wen Chi Hsu in Round 1 of the Badminton Asia Championships held in Dubai on Wednesday. The match lasted 46 minutes, and Sindhu had to work hard for her 21-15, 22-20 win. In the first set, Sindhu trailed 11-14 but made a comeback with a 9-point spree and pocketed the set. In the second set, Sindhu led 14-9, but Wen made a 5-point comeback, threatening to force a decider. Sindhu managed to stay dogged in defence and used her power game to finish off her opponent, something that Wen could not do.
Wen is known for her deceptive style of play and is a compulsive retriever, which made things challenging for Sindhu. However, Sindhu managed to exhaust Wen in a long rally at 14-all, after which Wen struggled to regain control of the match. Sindhu’s doggedness in defence and power game proved to be the winning factor.
In Round 2, Sindhu will be playing the higher-ranked Chinese player Han Yue in another potentially tricky encounter. Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth won his match against Adnan Ebrahim 21-13, 21-8 in just 25 minutes, and HS Prannoy was clinical against Phone Naing with a 21-14, 21-9 win. Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela, the Indian duo, rallied from a set down against Lanny Tria Mayasari and Ribka Sugiarto of Indonesia, winning 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 in just over an hour.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had an easy time dispatching Tan Kian Meng and Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia 21-14, 21-17 in the men’s doubles. However, Lakshya Sen, now ranked World No 24, lost his match against Loh Kean Yew. Sen started slow and struggled to find his length from the drifty side, which allowed a yawning 4-17 gap to open. Loh, ranked No 7 in the world, capitalized on this and won the first set 21-7. In the second set, Sen played decisively and strung Loh to a yo-yo on the backcourt, leading through large parts of the set. However, Loh stayed toe to toe and troubled Sen with his persistent defence. Sen led until 11-9, but Loh stayed in the game till 18-all. Sen accelerated both foot and hand speed to take the 20-19 lead but eventually lost the set 23-21.
In the women’s singles, Malvika Bansod fought hard but lost to world champion Akane Yamaguchi 25-23, 21-19. Malvika matched the Japanese shuttler’s pace in rallies and went toe to toe on strokes, but Yamaguchi’s experience helped her clinch the match.
In conclusion, the Badminton Asia Championships witnessed some thrilling matches, with players giving their all to win. Sindhu and Srikanth were impressive with their victories, while Treesa and Gayatri’s fightback was inspiring. Satwiksairaj and Chirag’s easy win in the men’s doubles was commendable. Although Lakshya Sen lost, he showed promise, and Malvika Bansod’s efforts were admirable. The tournament promises to be exciting, with more matches yet to come.