Sindhu whips Blichfeldt to enter Olympics quarter-finals
Pusarla V Sindhu stormed into the quarter-finals of the women’s singles badminton at the Olympics with an easy 21-15, 21-13 victory over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, in Tokyo, on Thursday.
The defending World champion will meet Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi who, defeated Korea’s Kim Gaeun 21-17, 21-18 in another pre-quarter-finals.
The sixth seeded Indian has a 11-7 head-to-head record against the Japanese world No 5, whom she last beat at the All England Championship in March this year
“I started off well in the first game, but around 15-16 I gave a couple of points because I was rushing in my defence.
“My coach was telling me that I was playing the wrong way and I realised that and I immediately changed my tactics and completed the first game,” Sindhu said after the match.
“Second game I was fine; I was maintaining the lead and finished it off.”
The 26-year-old Indian kept Blichfeldt guessing with a mix of stroke-play and drops at the net. She called the shots early in the first game despite the Dane taking a 2-0 lead and raced to a 9-5.
Blichfeldt did well to narrow it down to 14-12 with a mixture of long tosses and sudden drops to. She continued to attack and reduced it further to 15-16.
However, the Indian ace allowed her only that much liberty. With clever play at the net and two long smashes she took the next few points to the seal the game at 21-15 in 22 minutes.
In the second game, Sindhu, who won the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, got off to a rousing start as Blichfeldt committed several unforced errors. She was up 4-0 and extended it to 9-4.
So dominant was the Indian that she had eight match-points before sealing the contest in 41 minutes.
On Wednesday, Sindhu defeated world No. 34 Hong Kong’s NY Cheung 21-9, 21-16 to top Group J. She is India’s badminton hope left in fray after B Sai Praneeth’s maiden Olympic campaign ended in agony in the men’s competition. He went down in straight games to Mark Caljouw of Netherlands and suffered his second defeat in Group D.
On Tuesday, the men’s doubles team of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy failed to make the quarter-finals despite winning two matches in their group.