China Open 2019: Sindhu beats Xue Rui, Saina crashes out

Indian badminton star P. V. Sindhu hardly broke sweat as she mauled the former Olympic gold medallist to progress into the second round.

P.V. Sindhu started her China Open campaign on a winning note. (File Photo)   -  GETTY IMAGES

World champion P.V. Sindhu reasserted her supremacy as she defeated Li Xue Rui 21-18, 21-12 to start her campaign at the USD 1,000,000 China Open, a World Tour Super 1000 tournament, on a winning note.

Sindhu hardly broke any sweat as she mauled the former Olympic gold medallist in just 34 minutes to progress ahead. This is the first time Sindhu has beaten Li in straight games.  

Strong Start

Sindhu started off strongly as she took an early four-point lead in the first game.

Li made Sindhu toil hard for points but the Indian with some powerful smashes kept the pressure on the Chinese and maintained the lead.

A 22-shot rally saw Sindhu drop a point after the break but the ace shuttler was quick to regain the lead.

The Indian was pushed on the backfoot as despite having a five-point lead, Sindhu struggled to close the game. However, a powerful cross-court smash saw Li crumble as Sindhu won the first game 21-18.

The second game saw Li start on a positive note as she took a three-point lead. Trailing 6-3, Sindhu, then made amends to enter the break with a two-point lead.

Li briefly kept pace but the Chinese who entered the match with a 3-3 record against the Indian, found difficult to tackle Sindhu's cross-court returns.

Despite unleashing her powerful smashes, Sindhu exhausted the Chinese with some wonderful drop shots near the net.

The world champion then increased the gap with a seven-point lead and closed the game comfortably to advance ahead. 

Saina crashes out

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a first round ouster after slipping to a straight-game defeat to Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opening round.

The eight seeded Indian went down 10-21, 17-21 to Busanan in 44 minutes, in what was her second consecutive defeat to the Thai shuttler.

The loss highlights Saina's struggle to regain form after she was forced out of action for over two months owing to injuries. She claimed the Indonesia Open title in the beginning of the year, but has failed to reach another final since.

Sai Praneeth advances

In the men's singles, Sai Praneeth claimed a hard-fought 21-19, 21-23, 21-14 victory over Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon in the first round. He will next face China's Lu Guangzu, who claimed a massive 21-5, 21-9 win over third seed Shi YuQi.

The duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy lost to Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich 12-21 21-23.

(With inputs from IANS)