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Aiming for continued improvement to remain on top: badminton champion PV Sindhu

Sayan Mukherjee

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PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu won her 1st BWF World Championship title in her third attempt.

New Delhi: Staying on top is harder than getting there, PV Sindhu is aware of the enormity of her task. Hence her aim now is for continued improvement that would enable her to remain at the top.sports news headlines

Awards and rewards have overflown since she landed in India after her World Championships triumph in Basel. But Sindhu is keen to overcome the trappings of fame and has already shifted her focus to the China Open (September 17-22) and Korea Open (September 24-29).

“The top 1-20 players in the rankings are practically of the same standard. I plan to change a few things and master some new tricks.sports news headlines

“I should have a new strategy as by now everyone is aware of my game and have tracked me accordingly,” the 24-year-old said at a junior badminton event in the Capital on Tuesday.

Learning from her past mistakes and improving on her deficiencies are also high on her agenda, and she is working closely to plug loopholes under Pullela Gopichand and Kim Ji Hyun, the new entrant to her coaching unit.

Kim’s addition has admittedly made a difference, most noticeably in her net play and aggressiveness, as evident in her World Championships final victory over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.

“Kim has only arrived a couple of months. We plan things together. Her focus is not just on any particular stroke but on my overall game. But she has helped improve my front court shots and defence,” the Rio Olympics silver medallist elaborated while speaking of Kim’s impact on her game.

Aware that her Basel gold has only whetted the appetite of the country starved of an individual Olympic gold (Abhinav Bindra being an exception) she isn’t willing to think of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just yet.

Her focus is to perform consistently in the regular BWF tournaments in the build-up to the Games.

“The World Championships gold increases my confidence. There are many tournaments before the Olympics. I will build step by step for Tokyo.”

She admitted victory in Basel enhances her reputation and status while bringing enhanced pressure and responsibility. But now she is well equipped to handle such expectations.

“The World Championships gold was much awaited. I have had my share of ups and downs. Lost a lot in finals. But in Basel everything fell into place,” Sindhu said, adding that she would leave for China in a couple of days.

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Sai Praneeth beaten in China Open quarterfinals

Press Trust of India

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Sai Praneeth.

Changzhou, Sep 20 (PTI) B Sai Praneeth suffered a three-game loss to world no.9 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarterfinals to draw curtains on India’s campaign at the China Open World Tour Super 1000 badminton tournament here on Friday.

Almost a month after dispatching the Indonesian en route his historic world championships bronze at Basel, world no.15 Praneeth went down to the same opponent 21-16 6-21 16-21 in 55 minutes to end his campaign here.

Ginting will now take on eighth seeded Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, who had clinched the silver at the World Championships.

Praneeth, who had reached the finals of Swiss Open early this year, came into the match with a 3-2 advantage in the head-to-head count against Ginting but he ran out of steam after winning the opening game.

Praneeth opened up a 3-0 lead early on and then kept widening the gap, reaching 11-3 at the break.

Ginting tried to make a comeback and was 11-14 at one stage but the Indian ensured there were no hiccups as he pocketed the opening game comfortably.

In the second game, Ginting galloped to a 9-4 lead after grabbing six straight points and entered the interval with a cushion of 11-5.

The Indonesian continued to rule the roost after the break, jumping to a massive 18-6 lead and soon roared back into the contest.

The decider was a close affair as Praneeth erased a 2-6 deficit to catch up with Ginting and was ahead 11-7 at the breather. A fighting Ginting, however, turned the tables after reeling off six points on the trot to reach 13-12.

The Indonesian kept his hold on the proceedings after that to grab four match points and converted it easily to enter the semifinals.

Last month, Praneeth had reached the semifinals of the World Championships to end India’s 36-year wait for a men’s singles medal at the tournament.

He emulated legendary Prakash Padukone, who had also won a bronze at the 1983 edition.

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World champ PV Sindhu beaten in China Open pre-quarters

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PV Sindhu

Changzhou (China): Reigning world champion PV Sindhu made an early exit from the China Open after losing a three-game thriller against Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals here on Thursday.

Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, squandered a first-game advantage to go down 12-21 21-13 21-19 to Pornpawee in a match that lasted 58 minutes here.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also had a dismal day as he suffered twin defeats, losing both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.

In men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against fourth-seeded Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda and went down 19-21 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.

This is the second time Satwik and Chirag have lost to the combination of Kamura and Sonoda this year. They had lost to the world no.4 pair at the Japan Open in July.

Satwik then paired up with his mixed doubles partner Ashwini Ponanappa but the duo couldn’t get past Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo, losing 11-21 21-16 12-21 to the Japanese pair.

Sindhu, who came into the match with a 3-0 lead against Pornpawee, dominated the first game as she lead 7-1 early on but the Thai shuttler reduced the deficit to 10-11 at the break.

However, Sindhu reeled off eight straight points after the interval to jump to 19-10 and eventually sealed the first game comfortably.

In the second game, Pornpawee changed gears and moved to a 5-1 advantage initially. Sindhu clawed back to 7-9 before the Thai youngster jumped to 15-7 with six straight points and held her fort to roar back into the contest.

The decider started on an even note as the duo fought hard, moving together till 6-6 when Sindhu surged ahead to enjoy a 11-7 cushion at the break.

However, Pornpawee kept breathing down Sindhu’s neck and slowly moved to 15-19. From there, the Thai shuttler blasted six points to leave the Indian shocked.

Among other Indians in fray, Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth will also be in action, while Ponnappa and N Siki Reddy will take on the second seeded Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the second round of the women’s doubles competition.

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Satwiksairaj – Chirag Shetty pair knocked out of China Open

Press Trust of India

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (left) and Chirag Shetty

Changzhou: The Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered a straight-game loss to Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda to crash out of the China Open badminton tournament here on Thursday.

Satwik and Chirag, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against their fourth-seeded opponents and went down 19-21 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.

This is the second time Satvik and Chirag have lost to the combination of Kamura and Sonoda this year. They had lost to the world no.4 pair at the Japan Open in July.

Later on Thursday, the mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponanappa, who stunned Indonesia’s world no.7 combination of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the opening round, will take on Japan’s Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo.

In the singles events, fifth seed PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, and B Sai Praneeth will also be in action.

Ponnappa and Siki Reddy will take on the second-seeded Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the second round of the women’s doubles competition.

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