Sindhu in Last 16

Thursday, 29 July 2021 | Agencies | Tokyo

2016 Rio Olympic Silver medallist will face Blichfeldt for place in quarters today

Reigning world champion P V Sindhu stormed into the pre-quarterfinals of women’s singles badminton event but B Sai Praneeth’s maiden Olympic campaign ended in agony in the men’s competition of the Tokyo Games on Wednesday.

Sindhu, who had claimed a Silver medal in Rio, beat world No 34 Hong Kong’s NY Cheung 21-9, 21-16 in a 35-minute match to top Group J.

However, 13th seed Praneeth failed to bring his ‘A’ game to the table once again, going down 14-21, 14-21 to Mark Caljouw of Netherlands in 40 minutes for his second defeat in Group D.

The world No 15 Indian had earlier lost his opening round to Israel’s Misha Zilberman.

World No 29 Caljow, with this win, topped the group to qualify for the knockout stage. Only the group toppers advance to the knockout stage.

For Sindhu, it was her sixth win over Cheung in as many meetings.

“I found my rhythm from the second game on and I finished it off. It was a fast game and I made a couple of unforced errors. I changed my tactics and got things under control. This type of test is important before a big match,” the 26-year-old Indian said after the match.

World No 7 Sindhu will now meet Denmark’s world number 12 Mia Blichfeldt, who topped Group I.

Sindhu has a 4-1 head-to-head record against Blichfeldt, whose only win against the Indian was at the Yonex Thailand Open earlier this year.

“It’s not going to be an easy game. I need to recover well and come back stronger. I’ve played her a couple of times, every point is going to be important. She’s an aggressive player so I need to be aggressive as well,” Sindhu said. In men’s singles match, Praneeth was inconsistent and erratic and didn’t have answers to his opponent’s precise returns.

“I was not confident enough. I was trying everything but there was no confidence in my strokes. I came on the court to win but unfortunately it was not a good performance for me. I started well in the second and then lost the points,” Praneeth said.

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