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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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Sindhu looks to snap run of early exits at French Open

Press Trust of India

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PV Sindhu

Paris: World champion P V Sindhu would look to snap her recent run of early exits when she begins her women’s singles campaign at the USD 750,000 French Open badminton tournament, beginning here on Tuesday.

Since claiming her maiden World Championships title in August, Sindhu has looked awfully out-of-form as she had failed to cross the second round in three tournaments.

She faltered in the second and first rounds at the China Open and Korea Open respectively last month. Sindhu again exited in the second round in straight games against Korea’s An Se Young in Denmark Open last week.

The Olympic silver medallist looked a tad slow in her movement in the last three tournaments, showing signs of dip in her form.

Seeded fifth in the tournament, Sindhu, a 2017 semifinalist, will be up against Canada’s world number 9 Michelle Li, who has beaten the Indian in the past twice.

If Sindhu gets past the early rounds, the world number 6 Indian is likely to face top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

World number 8 Saina Nehwal, who is also taking part in this BWF World Tour Super 750 event, has also been struggling with her fitness and has made three first-round exits in her last three tournaments.

The 29-year-old, who had finished runner-up at the 2012 edition, will meet Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the opening round.

In the men’s singles, 2017 champion Kidambi Srikanth too will be desperate to turn around his poor run in form when he steps out at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin here.

However, it will not be an easy outing for the world number 9 Indian as he opens his campaign against second seed Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.

Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who reached the semifinals at India Open and Korea Open, would look to prove that the first-round exit last week at Denmark Open was an aberration when he lock horns with Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus.

Sameer Verma, who had reached the semifinals of the World Tour Finals last December, will meet Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the opening round.

World number 12 B Sai Praneeth, who had claimed a bronze at the World Championships, will once again face the legendary Lin Dan of China in the opening round.

A 2017 Singapore Open winner, Praneeth had beaten the two-time Olympic champion Chinese at Denmark Open last week.

In the doubles, the women’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will square off against fifth seeded Korean duo of Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan.

The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty face the Dutch combination of Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling. Another men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy and the mixed duo of Satwiksairaj and Ashwini are also in the fray.

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Kuhoo-Dhruv wins badminton mixed doubles title in Egypt

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Kuhoo Garg
Kuhoo Garg

New Delhi: Kuhoo Garg and Dhruv Rawat put up a brilliant effort to win the mixed doubles title at the Egypt International 2019 in Cairo.

The unseeded Garg and Rawat held their nerves for a tight 21-16, 22-20 victory over the third seeds Utkarsh Arora and Karishma Wadkar in an all-Indian final.

Garg and Rawat showed excellent understanding as they had accounted for the second seeds Ahmed Salah and Hadia Hosny 21-16 21-15 of Egypt in the second round and then followed it up with a comeback 16-21 21-16 21-9 win over fourth seeds Koceila Mammeri and Linda Mazri of Algeria in the semi-finals.

Garg, however, failed to have double delight as she later went down in the women’s doubles final with Sanyogita Ghorpade.

The two gave their all before bowing out narrowly, 16-21 21-19 19-21 to third seeds Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker.

Meanwhile, at the Dubai International Challenge, Rituparna Das succumbed to a 21-23, 17-21 defeat in 36 minutes to Japan’s World No. 208 Mako Urushizaki. The World No. 144 was looking for her first BWF title of the year.

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Sindhu exits in 2nd round, Sameer beaten too at Denmark Open

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PV Sindhu

Odense: World Champion P V Sindhu yet again struggled to buck the trend of early exits as she was knocked out of the Denmark Open after a straight-game loss against An Se Young in the second round.

Fifth seed Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist, lost 14-21 17-21 to the Korean in a 40-minute clash at the BWF World Tour Super 750 event.

This was Sindhu’s third successive early exit from a tournament since claiming the World Championship at Basel, Switzerland in August.

The 24-year-old Indian had lost in the second round and first round at the China Open and Korea Open respectively in the last two events.

It turned out to be a dismal day for India as Sameer Verma and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also went down in straight games in their second rounds.

While Sameer lost 12-21 10-21 to Olympic champion Chen Long of China in men’s singles, Thailand Open champions Satwik and Chirag suffered a 16-21 15-21 defeat against sixth seed Chinese combination of Han Cheng Kai and Zhou Hao Dong.

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