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Saina, Srikanth win, Verma beaten in Thailand Open



Saina Nehwal.

Bangkok: Saina Nehwal marked her return to competitive badminton with a straight game win over Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan to reach the second round of the Thailand Open on Wednesday. sports update sports world

Saina got past Chaiwan 21-17, 21-19 in her opening contest in what was a good day for Indian shuttlers with the likes of Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap and Shubhanker Dey progressing to the next round.

In a major upset, India’s mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy stunned Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia 21-18, 18-21, 21-17 to sail into the second round.

However, Sameer Verma lost to Malaysia’s Lee Zee Jia 23-21, 11-21, 5-21 in 52 minutes.

Saina will next play Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi after the latter beat Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan.

It was hard work for Srikanth as his match with Chinese qualifier Ren Peng Bo lasted an hour and seven minutes. Srikanth finally came out victorious 21-13, 17-21, 21-19. He will face next Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab in the second round. sports update sports world

Prannoy beat Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent of 21-16, 22-20 while Kashyap came back from game down to beat Israel”s Misha Zilberman 18-21, 21-8, 21-14.

Both players now face tough second round encounters with Prannoy facing sixth seed Japanese Kenta Nishimoto and Kashyap playing Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. sports update sports world

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



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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Olympic champ Carolina Marin out of BWF World Championships



Carolina Marin.

New Delhi: Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin has withdrawn from the upcoming BWF World Championships after failing to recover completely from a knee injury she suffered during the Indonesia Masters final in January earlier this year.

Defending champion Marin had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee while competing in the Indonesian Masters final on January 26 and has since been sidelined from competition.

She underwent knee surgery on January 29 and had accepted the initial invitation to play in the World Championships to be held in Basel from August 19-25.

However, the Spaniard has now said she would not be able to participate in the event.

“Me and my team has decided that we aren’t going to play the World Championship because we are very short of time. The recovery is going well and the knee is running well. So we will wait till the tournaments of September,” she said in a video message on Twitter on Sunday. sports world

Marin would be replaced by Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy received a late call for the tournament following withdrawals by former world champion H.S. Prannoy . sports world

Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma and B. Sai Praneeth are the other three Indians who will be participating in the men’s singles event at the championships.

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Rankireddy-Shetty claim Thailand Open doubles title



Saatwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the final in 62 minutes.

Bangkok: India’s search for a world badminton doubles title came to an end after the pair of Saatwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stunned the reigning world champions to land the men’s doubles title at the Thailand Open on Sunday. latest sports news in english sports news headlines

The Indian pair defeated Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in a thrilling 62-minute final to become the first Indian pair to win a Super 500 event. latest sports news in english sports news headlines

Playing in their BWF tour final of the season, the Indian duo narrowly won the first game 21-19. However, the third-seeded Chinese pair made a strong comeback in the second game, winning it 21-18.

In the decider, the Indian pair raced to a 13-9 lead but the contest once again went down to the wire as the Chinese duo fought back in style. latest sports news in english sports news headlines

However, Rankireddy-Shetty held their nerves to wrap up the game 21-18 to walk away with the title.
This fantastic feat will help them to break into the top-10 of the world rankings, thereby making them the first Indian men’s team to reach there. Chirag was ecstatic after the win.

According to Satwik, the secret to winning the title was that the duo stuck to a plan and did not rush through points.

“We just stuck to our plan of keeping the shuttle low and not hurrying through the points. I think this really worked and helped us. We kept our calm all throughout the tournament.

Even when we were down 1-4 in the third game, we didn’t lose hope. We just were steady and did not rush things to give them a bigger lead,” he said. latest sports news in english sports news headlines

Pullela Gopichand, chief coach of the Indian team, said that this win will hold them in good stead in the future.

“It’s a great victory for the boys as most of the top players played in the tournament. This win will give them confidence for future. Now they can challenge any top team in the world,” he said.

The victory has come at the most perfect time. With just two weeks to go for the World Championships, this achievement should make the Indian boys believe that they are among the top contenders for the prestigious title.

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