Indian ace shuttler P V Sindhu beats USA's Beiwen Zhang 21-14, 21-17 in the opening round of the All England Badminton Championships on Wednesday at the Arena Birmingham.
World no. 6 Sindhu took consecutive two points following a rally to male it 4-3 in the opening game. There onwards, she kept on playing across the court to make it 5-3. However, the American World no. 14 closed in the gap at 6-6. The game went on toe-to-toe with Sindhu leading 11-9 at the interval. Some beautiful stroke play by Sindhu led her to eastablish a four-point lead at 13-9. Sindhu's misjudgement caused her to lose two challenges while the game progressed 14-12. But she maintained her composure and with regular cross court play, the Hyderabad lass went on to lwad 17-13. Laced by powerful smashes, Sindhu cruised to win the first game 21-14.
Zhang earned the opening point in the second game, but Sindhu looked dictatorial in her approach and equalled with a powerful smash, which Zhang failed to clear past the net. An unforced error by the Odian took the game at 4-4. A close game ensued with Zhang encashing on smashes to the corners and taking the lead to 6-8. Sindhu quickly equalised at 8-8. Errors kept on crawling Sindhu's game, who trailed 9-11 at the interval. Mistakes kept on costing Sindhu more points as the American switched on her gears and brought variations to lead 11-15. Sindhu picked up four points in a row to equalise and eventually made a lead of 16-15. Sindhu hold on to the grip and picked up a 18-17 lead. She eventally won 21-17.
The season's first Super 1000 event witnessed a dramatic build-up in the wake of the COVID19 outbreak, which has claimed over 4000 lives and infected more than 100,000 people globally. In the United Kingdom itself, the number of infected people has gone past 300 with five deaths so far.
The USD 1,100,000 BWF world tour event offers 12,000 ranking points to the winner and with the Olympic qualification on the line, most of the top players will be seen in action at the Arena Birmingham.
While Sindhu, who is almost assured of an Olympic berth, will look to end a nearly two-decade-old title jinx at the All England Championship by adding the coveted title to her 2019 world championships gold, former silver medallist Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will eye valuable points to squeeze inside the top 16 before the deadline for Olympic qualification ends on April 28.
Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand was the last Indian to win the championship, in 2001. Sindhu will look to overturn a run of recent poor finishes and emulate her mentor with the top medal.
The 24-year-old is expected to take on Korea's Sung Ji Hyun in the second round who will face Nitchaon Jindapol later today.