World Tour Finals: Sindhu, Srikanth make winning start in singles
Ashwini-Sikki, Satwik-Chirag pairs lose
Top Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth registered straight-game victories to make impressive starts to their respective singles campaigns at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals here on Wednesday.
Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, saw off Denmark's Line Christophersen 21-14 21-16 in a lop-sided Group A contest after former world number 1 Srikanth beat France's Toma Junior Popov 21-14 21-16 in 42 minutes in his opening match of group B.
The reigning world champion, the only Indian to win the year-ending tournament in 2018, will meet Germany's Yvonne Li next.
Srikanth, who had reached the knockout stage of the 2014 edition, will next face Thailand's three-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
The women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, however, lost 14-21 18-21 to second-seeded Japanese combination of Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida in their opening group B match.
Also starting with a loss was the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, beaten 16-21 5-21 by the Danish combination of Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen in a group A clash.
Sindhu looked in great control as she opened up a 5-2 lead and though Line made it 7-6, the Indian quickly reeled off 10 straight points to march to 16-8 and seal the opening game comfortably.
After the change of sides, Line put up a slightly better show as she led briefly at 4-2 before Sindhu grabbed a slender 11-10 advantage at the interval. After resumption, Sindhu zoomed to 17-13, and soon, shut the door on her opponent.
Srikanth also displayed a compact game. He was alert and agile on the court and found points with his attacks against the world number 33 Frenchman.
The opening game was a tight affair in the initial part with the duo fighting tooth and nail.
Srikanth managed to eke out a slender 11-9 lead at the break and then came out with five straight points to move ahead to 16-10 and soon closed out the game.
In the second game, Srikanth lagged 1-4 initially but he soon recovered to once again grab a two-point advantage at the interval.
Just like the first game, he made his way to a healthy 14-9 lead before moving to 19-14. A long shot from his opponent gave Srikanth four match points and he sealed it with some superb net play.