After a mixed opening to their campaign, India have extended their winning run into the quarter-finals of the Badminton Asia Championships as PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma registered respective wins. The mixed doubles pair of Utkarsh Arora and Karishma Wadkar, however, was ousted early in the day.
After Kidambi Srikanth faced a shocking exit at the hands of Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, Verma had the task of leading the charge of India’s men’s singles event in the prestigious tournament. And he did exactly that when he came up against an inexperienced NG ka Long Angus of Hong Kong.
Verma was always the favourite approaching the match and he showed it very early in the first game by opening a six-point lead of 11-5 at the break. Though Angus came close to reducing the deficit to four points at 16-12 after the break, it wasn’t enough as Verma won it 21-12. Verma would play the winner of the match between Shi Yuqi and Sitthikom Thammasin in the quarters.
The second game was a closer affair as the Hong Kong shuttler came all guns blazing. Verma could take only a two-point lead at the break with 11-9 this time and Angus kept coming at him after that as well. Despite getting a breathing space at 15-11, Verma let Angus level things at 16-16 before the Indian eventually won it 21-19.
PV Sindhu didn’t have such an easy outing against Indonesia’s Choirunnisa Choirunnisa in her pre-quarterfinal clash. She saw competition from the very first game although it was only till the break as the fourth-seeded Indian somehow led 11-9. Following that Choirunnisa lost fuel letting Sindhu open up a 17-13 lead before she eventually won it 21-15. Sindhu will face China's Cai Yanyan next.
The second game was bound to be a closer affair and Choirunnisa left no stones unturned. Sindhu led 11-7 at the break with the Indonesian seemingly giving up after a gruelling fight. However, she made a stunning comeback to level things at 17-17 and 19-19 before eventually losing at 21-19.
The mixed doubles pair of Utkarsh and Karishma was the early casualty of the day as they were humbled 10-21, 15-21 by Indonesia’s Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
Saina Nehwal also joined Sindhu and Verma in the next round of the Championships as she scripted a comfortable 21-13, 21-13 win against Korea’s Kim Ga Eun in the second round match of the women’s singles event.
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