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‘India’s pride’ PV Sindhu credits coaches for technical tweaks in her game

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Badminton world champion P V Sindhu with PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: India’s first badminton world champion P V Sindhu was welcomed exuberantly on her return to the country and promised to work harder to clinch more medals.

The Olympic silver-medallist, who out-played Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-7 21-7 in a lop-sided final of the big event in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday, was mobbed at the airport after she touched down with national coach Pullela Gopichand by her side on Monday night here.

Despite the hectic schedule she has endured, the 24-year-old had a smile on her face as she acknowledged supporters and the media at the airport.

“I am really happy, I am very proud of my country. It’s a much-awaited win and I am very happy about it,” she said in response to questions that were thrown at her almost at the same time.

The Hyderabadi has had little time to reflect since her historic triumph. She has had a breakfast meeting with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and further, she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday in New Delhi.

“I will work more hard and win many more medals,” she said on questions about the plans from now given that the Olympics is less than a year away.

Sindhu was also asked about the moment she got emotional after the medal distribution ceremony. The five-time world medallist had tears in her eyes when the national anthem played. She had claimed silvers in the past two editions, besides a couple of bronze medals earlier.

“I had tears and there were a lot of emotions, it was a great moment for me. Thanks to all my fans for your blessings, your blessings have brought me here,” she said.

“I would like to thank my coaches Gopi sir and Kim (Ji Hyun). They have put in a lot of effort and done a few changes in my game,” she added.

Kim Ji Hyun, a former international from South Korea, joined the coaching staff earlier this year on Gopichand’s recommendation.

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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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