JAKARTA: PV Sindhu won her match but the rest faltered as the Indian shuttlers failed to put it across Japan and crashed out in the women’s team quarterfinals at the Asian Games here on Monday. The Indian men’s team did no better, going down to Indonesia in the team quarterfinals later in the day.
Sindhu gave India a winning start in the first singles, beating Akane Yamaguchi in straight games in 44 minutes. The Indian, who enjoyed a 7-4 head-to-head advantage over the Japanese going into the match, was tested by her rival but she used her experience to prevail in the contest 21-18, 21-19.
India wasted the lead in the next match itself when their doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Arathi Sara Sunil went down tamely in the doubles 15-21, 6-21 in 34 minutes against Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota.
All hopes then rested on veteran Saina Nehwal to regain India’s lead, but she failed to deliver. After losing the first game in the match against Nozomi Okuhara 11-21, Sania made a spirited comeback taking the second game 25-23. But her rival ran away with the match in 71 minutes by taking the third game 21-16.
Saina later admitted that India had been given a tough draw in the competition. “We played well as it was a tough draw. I did well in the second game after the setback in the first. In the third game, she proved to be very deceptive,” Saina told reporters after the match.
This was Saina’s second straight loss against Okuhara, who had beaten the Indian in the World Championships last year.
Sindhu later tied up with Ashwini Ponnappa in the fourth match, but failed to do much as Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi wrapped it up 21-13, 21-12 to dash India’s hopes. “They had a strong defence and had prepared well for this match. We tried hard, but it did not work out for us,” Sindhu said.
The men’s team also faced a similar fate as they went down against Indonesia 1-3, with HS Pannoy registering the lone victory for the Indians.
The Indians were caught on the wrong foot when their No. 1 player Kidambi Srikanth was stunned by Anthony Sinsuka 21-23, 22-20, 10-21 in just over an hour. The Indians failed to recover from that setback. They lost the next match, a doubles contest, by three games.
Prannoy delayed the inevitable by winning his tie against Jonatan Christie 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 but Indonesia sealed the issue by winning the doubles match that followed.