Sindhu survives the Vu minefield

India's P.V. Sindhu faced stiff resistance from World No. 52 Vu Thi Trang of Vietnam but eventually prevailed in three games.

In an unexpected tough first round, Sindhu (above) prevailed 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 over Trang in 58 minutes.   -  PTI

Was it the drift? Was she weary after the recent Nanjing Worlds and the Asiad’s team event here? Were there other issues?

The questions kept popping up as World No. 3 P. V. Sindhu choked in her singles badminton opener at the 18th Asian Games here on Thursday. And what should have been a breeze turned out to be a hard toil as the Worlds’ silver medallist survived a big scare against Vietnam’s Vu Thi Trang before emerging a 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 winner.

It appeared all easy for Sindhu when she led 14-5 and 19-9 in the opening game. But once Vu — the World No. 52 — settled down, Sindhu realised that she was up against a very tricky opponent.

Tense finish

With the Indian frequently misjudging the lines and falling into errors, Vu led 17-11 in the second game and she grew in confidence as the match went to the decider. Sindhu led 16-12 in the final game but Vu fought her way back. The scores were level at 18 and at one stage Sindhu was so worried with the lines that she appeared to focus her attack on the centre of the court.

The two enjoyed a net-cord point each towards the end but Sindhu edged ahead to 21-20 and this was when she lost her cool when the line judge called a shot out.

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“That was in,” said Sindhu and rushed to the umpire but it was turned down and the two were level at 21. A little later, she heaved a huge sigh of relief when she won the close battle.

“I angry because it was a crucial point…may be, after that if she had got two net cords, I would have lost the match,” said a very relieved Sindhu. “You never know because each point was important for both of us.”

Sindhu said she was playing Vu for the first time; that could be one reason why it was a difficult encounter.

Comprehensive win for Saina

Though Sindhu appears to have an easy draw when compared to Saina who has the World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying and Japanese Nozomi Okhuhara in her half, her next match against Gregoria Mariska – who has raised her game impressively playing at home here – could be a tricky affair, too.

Meanwhile, World No. 10 Saina Nehwal brushed aside Iran’s Soraya 21-7, 21-9 and entered the pre-quarterfinal.

Other results (Indians only):
Men’s doubles first round: Manu Attri & Sumeeth Reddy bt Thoif Ahmed & Ajfan Rasheed (Mdv) 21-10, 21-8; Chirag Shetty & Satwik Sairaj (Ind) bt Yonny Chung & Chun Hei Tam (Hkg) 21-12, 21-14.

Women’s doubles first round: Ashwini Ponnappa & Sikki Reddy bt Ng Wing Yung & Nga Ting (Hkg) 21-16, 21-15; Phataimas Meunwong & Chayanit Chaladchalam (Tha) bt Rutuparna Panda & Arathi Sara Sunil (Ind) 21-11, 21-6.

Mixed doubles first round: Liu Goh & Soon Peng Chan (Mal) bt Pranav Jerry Chopra & Sikki Reddy (Ind) 21-15, 23-21; P. Dechapol & T. Sapsiree (Tha) bt Satwik Rankireddy & Ashwini Ponnappa (Ind) 27-25, 21-16.