Indian badminton stars PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were both stretched to the limit but overcame difficult periods to win their respective games and enter the quarter-finals of China Open 2018. Sindhu beat Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-23, 21-13, 21-18. Sindhu, seeded third, lost the first game but came back strongly to completely dominate the second. The third, however, was again a close affair but Sindhu held her nerves to take the decider and book her place in the last eight. She will next take on the winner of the other pre-quarterfinal match between South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and Chen Yufei of China.
Kidambi Srikanth too struggled against his Thai opponent Suppanyu Avihingsanon but managed to eke out a 21-12, 15-21, 24-22 to reach the quarters.
Sindhu got off the blocks slowly, trailing for much of the first game. However, while trailing 13-15, the Indian star won five consecutive points to take an 18-15 lead.
The Thai shuttler didn’t give up and battled back to make it 19-19. Sindhu twice earned herself game points but Ongbamrungphan fought back to level the scores on both occasions.
With the match tied 21-21, the Thai shuttler took two straight points to win the first game.
Sindhu found her footing in the second game and led right from the beginning to draw level in the Round of 16 match.
The third seed was again coasting in the decider, leading 15-9. But Ongbamrungphan made a brilliant comeback to draw level at 16-16 and then even take a point lead. Sindhu, however, was in no mood to throw it away that easily and won three consecutive points to lead 19-17. She managed to keep the Thai shuttler at bay for the rest of the game to bag the quarterfinal berth.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles section, unlike Sindhu, Srikanth made a strong start and easily won the first game to gain the early advantage.
The Indian, however, seemed to lose the plot in the second and was made to pay as Avihingsanon dominated the proceedings to draw level in the match.
Srikanth found himself in deep trouble in the decider after trailing 12-15 but won six points in a row to swing the balance of the game and take an 18-15 lead. The seventh seeded Indian earned himself three match points by taking a 20-17 lead but threw it away with some unforced errors.
Srikanth’s Thai opponent came roaring back to take a 21-20 lead and win a match point. After trading a couple of match points, Srikanth finally managed to win two back-to-back points to win the match.
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