Rio de Janeiro:
Two-time World Championship bronze medallist, P V Sindhu, was the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal day for Indian shuttlers at the Rio Olympics here today. Ninth seed Sindhu spanked Laura Sarosi of Hungary in the women’s singles competition 21-8, 21-9 in a Group M match that lasted for 27 minutes. She will play against Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle of Canada on August 14 to complete the preliminary group engagements. Sindhu didn’t break any sweat against her World No. 64 rival as she took 13 and 14 minutes to wrap up the first and second games.
Earlier, the Indian combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa was off to a disappointing start in the women’s doubles event, losing 15-21 10-21 to the World No.1 Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto in a match which lasted 36 minutes in their Group A opener.
The Indians will next be up against the world No.11 Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in their second group clash tomorrow.
In the men’s doubles competition, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost 18-21 13-21 to World No.2 Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
Manu and Sumeeth fought hard in the opening game before running out of steam. They will be facing the World No. 5 Chinese pair of Biao Chai and Wei Hong.
Jwala and Ashwini opened a 4-1 lead but ended up blowing it away in no time after the Japanese pair put across some targetted deep returns which the Indians failed to judge.
The world No.1s, in contrast, were quick on their feet and returned everything that the Indians threw at them.
Jwala and Ashwini, who were struggling to coordinate their moves, trailed 8-11 at the first lemon break and could not bridge the gap even once.
The Japanese pair produced a couple of brilliant winners a backhand flick down the line by Matsumoto being particularly impressive—to wrap up the opening game in 19 minutes without breaking much of a sweat.
The second game followed a similar script with Takahashi and Matsumoto racing to a 6-3 lead. The top seeds capitalised on Jwala and Ashwini’s apparent lack of rhythm and managed to send down winners in open gaps.
Jwala and Ashwini were found wanting close to the net as well and ended up committing quite a few unforced errors to lose the match rather timidly.