Tokyo Olympics | India’s P.V. Sindhu enters quarterfinals

India’s P.V. Sindhu n action during the match against Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark during the women's singles badminton round of 16 match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in Tokyo on July 29, 2021.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

P.V.Sindhu looking ready for tougher opposition, got past a tricky rival in Mia Blichfeldt 21-15, 21-13 for a place in the quarterfinals of the Olympics badminton competition on Thursday, July 29, 2021. 

On Friday, Sindhu plays fourth-seeded home favourite Akane Yamaguchi,  who defeated 12th-seeded Korean Kim Gaeun 21-17, 21-18.

Sindhu’s fifth victory over the Danish rival in six encounters was also her easiest in terms of points conceded. In the months leading to her World title in 2019, the lanky Indian beat Mia thrice.

This year, when competitions began in January, Mia surprised Sindhu in three games at the Thailand Open before the Indian avenged the loss at the Swiss Open in March.

On this day, Sindhu dropped the first two points and never trailed thereafter. Barring a brief period during the first game when she let Mia rally from 6-13 to close the gap to 15-16, Sindhu stayed in ontrol.

In fact, the decisive swing in the contest came when Sindhu won the last five points of the first game and the first five points of the second. The 10-point streak underlined Sindhu's resolve and severely dented Mia's hopes of recovery. Despite her best efforts, Mia stayed at least three points behind Sindhu most of the time.

The first game was well contested. Sindhu displayed a fine variety of strokes and was quick to attack on both flanks as she kept increasing the lead. If Mia managed to close the gap, it was mainly because she found a way to push Sindhu away from the net and then unleash down the line smashes, mainly on the Indian's backhand. A couple of mishits from Sindhu also gave Mia some easy points.

For the second day, Sindhu’s defence from the forecourt looked effective. Again, she did not opt for the toss-and-drop game and focused more on shorter returns, close to the net. Her trademark forehand flicks from the backcourt that twice caught Mia off-guard were a treat to watch.

Mia's unforced errors

It became clear that the loss of the first game, especially the way Sindhu raced away with the final five points, impacted Mia in the second. In her desperation to make up for the lost opportunity, Mia committed several unforced errors and let Sindhu regain her firm grip. Steadily, Sindhu went on to force nine match-points. Mia saved two before the Indian sealed the issue.

Unlike the men’s singles event, where the top seed Kento Momota could ot get past the league stage, the women’s competition has seen all the
players take their allotted spots in the quarterfinals.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 5:57:22 PM |

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