PV Sindhu beats Cheung Ngan Yi in straight games to enter Round of 16 at Tokyo Olympics

P. V. Sindhu beat Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi 21-9, 21-16 to enter the elimination round of the Olympic Games.

PV Sindhu competes against Cheung Ngan Yi during a Women’s Singles Group J match on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.   -  GETTY IMAGES

World champion P. V. Sindhu produced another fine performance to beat Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi 21-9, 21-16 and enter the elimination round of the Olympic Games on Wednesday.

The 39-minute victory saw Sindhu top Group ‘J’ and set up a meeting with World No. 12 Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, winner of Group ‘I’, on Thursday. The seventh-ranked Sindhu enjoys a 4-1 advantage over Mia, but it is 1-1 this year. Sindhu won their last encounter.

Sindhu took on Cheung, ranked 34th, for the first time since posting a fifth consecutive win over her in 2017. Realising that the challenges are going to get progressively tougher, the Indian settled down quickly and took control of the first game. With deft cross-court placements and the occasional smashes, Sindhu kept the 28-year-old Hong Kong player guessing.

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That Sindhu led 10-3 and 15-8 aptly reflected her domination. She dropped just one more point before racing away with the next six to close out the game.

In the second, Sindhu, quite surprisingly, opted not to toss the shuttle deep into the court. Instead, she was happy to make Cheung move on both flanks, close to the net. Any loose response was met with a firm smash.

It was to Cheung's credit that she caught Sindhu on the forehand court with well-placed smashes. This also helped her stay in step with Sindhu during the first half of the game and she even led 11-10 at the mid-game break.

From 14-14, Sindhu raised the bar, reeling off six straight points and moving within a point of victory. Cheung saved two match-points before Sindhu sealed the contest with a powerful smash from close to the net.

Later in the day, B. Sai Praneeth lost 14-21, 14-21 to Dutchman Mark Caljouw in an inconsequential Group D contest. The result helped Caljouw, a semifinalist at this year’s All England championship, make it to the knockout phase at the expense of Israel’s Misha Zilberman, the Russia-born shuttler who had handed out a stunning 2-0 defeat to the Indian.

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