Ace Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth began their 2021 BWF World Tour Finals campaigns with wins while women’s doubles pair of India’s Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy and men’s doubles duo Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost their opening matches, here on Wednesday.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu beat Denmark’s Line Christophersen 21-14, 21-16, in her first match of Group A in women’s singles.
Reigning badminton world champion’s long reach and solid defence countered Christophersen’s aggressive play in the opening game as she took an 11-9 lead into the break. After the restart, Indian shifted gears and easily wrapped up the game 21-14.
In the second game, the 21-year-old Christophersen showed more maturity and gave competition to Sindhu. However, with the score at 13-13, the experienced shuttler forced the momentum in her favour with four back-to-back points and proceeded to end the match in straight games.
The 26-year old Sindhu will now take on Germany’s Yvonne Li and Thai shuttler Pornpawee Chochuwong in the next two group matches on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Notably, the participating players (in men’s and women’s singles) and doubles teams (in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles) are divided into two groups of four each in every category at the 2021 BWF World Tour Finals. The top two from each group make the semifinals.
Meanwhile, former world No 1 Kidambi Srikanth registered a comfortable 21-14, 21-16 victory over France’s Toma Junior Popov in the men’s singles Group B opener. Srikanth will face three-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn in his next group match on Thursday.
However, in the women’s doubles, India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy went down 14-21, 18-21 to the Japanese second seeds Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida. Up against Bulgaria’s Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva on Thursday, the Indian pair will need to bounce back to keep their final four hopes alive.
Later in the day, young Lakshya Sen, picked up valuable points in Group A after his opponent, world No 1 Kento Momota of Japan, was forced to retire with back pain shortly after the match began.
On the other hand, Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke also withdrew from the other group match against Viktor Axelsen with injury. With both Momota and Gemke withdrawing from the competition, Lakshya Sen and Viktor Axelsen will automatically progress to the knockout stage.
In another clash, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost 16-21, 5-21 to Danish pair Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in Group A men’s doubles match.