Sindhu, Saina sail into quarters

Top Indian shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal advanced to the women’s singles quarterfinals after beating their respective opponents in straight games on Saturday.

It was an easy win for Saina, who outclassed the world number 40 Indonesian 21-6, 21-14 in a second-round match, which was little over half an hour.   -  PTI

P.V. Sindhu had never lost to Gregoria Marsika in their four previous meetings but the GBK Istora Stadium does strange things to the Indonesian.

The World No. 22 gets pumped up by the noisy home fans who pack the stadium and this has seen her slay two top-10 stars over the last few days at the Asian Games here, including Japan World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi.

AS IT HAPPENED

And despite leading 7-0 in the opening game and 6-2 in the next, World No. 3 Sindhu had to spend a few anxious moments before overcoming Marsika 21-12, 21-15 and enter the women’s singles quarterfinal.

Saina Nehwal had made the quarterfinal earlier with a 21-16, 21-14 victory over another Indonesian, Fitriani Fitriani. After its two top men, K. Srikanth and H.S. Prannoy, crashed out in the opening round on Friday, the women’s performance brought a huge sigh of relief.

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Marsika is a very deceptive player, she is good at the net, and she tried to tire out Sindhu by forcing her to lunge frequently. That strategy appeared to work well for she from 0-7 to recovered to 8-10 in the opening game.

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Sindhu realised at this stage that she had to keep the crowd as quiet as possible and for this she had to tie her opponent down. She did that with a few hard smashes and won the game.

The second game almost went on similar lines and Sindhu came successful in the end.

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“After I took a 7-0 lead, I was continuously giving her points, but I wouldn’t say I was nervous,” said Sindhu.

“This is one of the best crowds for badminton in the world and I knew it would be behind her, backing her loudly, but I kept going the way I normally do.”