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Indian shuttlers target podium spots in Sudirman Cup

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Nanning (China): Top shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will spearhead the Indian challenge at the prestigious Sudirman Cup which gets underway here on Sunday.

India, who reached the quarterfinals twice in 2011 and 2017, will continue their hunt for an elusive medal in the mixed team championship.

Placed in Group 1D, India will have to beat the mighty China and 2009 semifinalist Malaysia to qualify from the group.

For that to happen, the likes of reigning BWF World Tour Finals winner Sindhu, 2019 Indonesia Masters champion Nehwal, 2019 India Open finalist Kidambi Srikanth and BWF World Tour Finals semifinalist Sameer Verma will have to come good.

As a team, India, seeded eighth this time, did beat Malaysia enroute an unprecedented team gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. The 13-member contingent will also have an advantage, as former World No. 1 Malaysian Lee Chong Wei is not taking part in the tournament this time.

Malaysia will rest their hopes on Lee Zii Jia in the men’s singles while Goh Jin Wei or Soniia Cheah will lead the charge in the women’s singles.

In the last edition, India stunned 1989 winners Indonesia on their way to the quarter-final where they lost to eventual runners-up China.

India will take on Malaysia on Monday before locking horns with 10-time champions China the next day.

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Prannoy shocks Lin Dan, moves into World C’ships pre-quarters

Press Trust of India

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HS Prannoy in action against Lin Dan on Tuesday.

Basel (Switzerland): Indian shuttler H S Prannoy stunned London Olympics gold medallist and multiple-time world champion Lin Dan in a hard-fought match to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships here on Tuesday. current sports news

The unseeded Indian beat the highly-decorated Chinese, seeded 11th in the showpiece tournament, 21-11, 13-21, 21-7 in a second round match that lasted one hour and two minutes. current sports news

In the pre-quarterfinals, Prannoy will meet the winner of the second round match between top seed Kento Momota of Japan and Luis Enrique Penalver of Spain. current sports news

Prannoy completely dominated the first game and led all the way after 2-2. The Indian was ahead at 10-5 and then raced to 19-11 before pocketing it.

In five meetings between the two, Prannoy has emerged victorious thrice. The Chinese won in the last meeting, at the Australian Open in June.

Lin, who had also won gold in the 2008 Olympics, apart from seven World Championships titles, roared back in the second game. They were tied 5-5 but from there on, the Chinese legend did not give any chance to Prannoy as he easily won the second game to take the match to the decider.

Prannoy, however, was not going to be intimidated by the reputation of the former world number one. The Indian reserved the best for the last and just like the first game, Prannoy left Lin far behind after 4-4 and won the deciding game easily to wrap up the match.

In the women’s doubles, the Indian pair of Ashwini Ponappa N Sikki Reddy got a walkover from Chinese Taipei’s Chang Ching Hui and Yang Ching Tun in their opening match. They will face seventh seeded Chinese pair of Du Yue and LI Yin Hui in the second round.

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Praneeth, Prannoy move into 2nd round of BWF World C’ships

Press Trust of India

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HS Prannoy.

Basel: Shuttlers Sai Praneeth and H.S. Prannoy reached the second round of the BWF World Championships here on Monday to hand India a good start in the prestigious event. current sports news

While world no. 19 Praneeth beat lower-ranked Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada 21-17, 21-16, world no. 30 Prannoy rallied to down Finland’s Eetu Heino 17-21, 21-10, 21-11. current sports news

Praneeth, who has been recently nominated for the Arjuna Award, took just 39 minutes to get his campaign off to a flying start. current sports news

He will now take on the winner of the 1st round match between South Korea’s Lee Dong Keun and Australia’s Daniel Fan in the second round on Tuesday.

The Indian women’s doubles pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha Ram notched up a straight-game win over Diana Corleto and Nikte Alejandra of Guatemala to reach the second round. They won the contest 21-10, 21-18.

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Sindhu targets improved fitness levels to win World C’ship gold

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PV Sindhu.

New Delhi: Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu said on Friday that she has been working on improving her fitness and defence in search of an elusive gold in the showpiece World Championships next week.

Sindhu has been the most consistent performer in the World Championships in the last few years with two silver and as many bronze medals but a gold has still eluded her.

The 24-year-old Indian ace will once again be the biggest hope as she spearheads the country’s challenge at the World Championship which begins in Basel, Switzerland on August 19.

She lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and Carolina Marin of Spain respectively in the summit clash of the last two editions of the World Championships in 2017 and 2018.

Asked if she is hoping to make it third time lucky, Sindhu replied: “Well, I have trained hard and I hope I can do well. I have to perform well but there is no pressure.”

“I been working on my defence, physical fitness and also on-court skills. We do have all kinds of strokes but to improve we have to keep training. So I have to do it all the time to make myself perfect,” Sindhu told PTI in interview.

“It is important to know which strokes to play at the right time, sometimes you can get tired and you can go blank but as a player you need to know which strokes to play in tough situations,” she said.

Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi was the one player who stopped Sindhu twice with an aggressive game plan in the last two tournaments of the year in Indonesia and Japan.

Asked if the new World No. 1 Yamaguchi will be the biggest threat to her World Championships gold hope, Sindhu said: “I don’t think so. I played well against her in Indonesia but she was good. She was attacking well and she is also a rally player. latest sports news headlines

“I was not surprised by her aggresion. I was ready but it happens, may be had I won the first game, things could have been different,” Sindhu said.

Sindhu, who has been seeded fifth, received a bye in the first round and will open her campaign against either Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po or Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri. If she wins, Sindhu is likely to meet Beiwen Zhang of USA in the third round while Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying is likely to wait for her at the quarterfinals.

“At World Championships, it will not be easy from the first round itself. If you see the draw, I am playing a Chinese Taipei player and then Beiwen Wang, she is not an easy players and if I can win, I will be against Tai Tzu Ying in quarters. I have to focus on each match, because you never know.”

Since claiming the World Tour Finals in December last year, Sindhu has not been able to win another title this year. Two semifinals finishes at India Open and Singapore Open are all she had to show before she produced a superlative display to finish runners-up at Indonesia Open last month. latest sports news headlines

On her rigorous training under new South Korean coach Kim Ji-hyun, Sindhu said, “It has been good. I am happy with my performance. With Kim, I have a good communication and I hope to do well in World Championship.

“She pointed out a few mistakes that I was doing at the net, and overall, so I had to improve on that aspect. I got almost a month time before Indonesia, so had a good training and it showed at Indonesia.

“Her mindset and thinking is different and she motivates me a lot. Every coach has a different approach and I got used to her quickly. She joined after All England, so it took some time to get used to her way. Now we understand each other well.” latest sports news headlines

Asked about her plans for the Tokyo Olympics, she said, “There is still time. It is important to play all the tournaments because the qualification is important. So till April next year, I plan to play and then we will take a call depending on how my game is, my fitness levels and how training goes.”

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