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Badminton: Sindhu beats Cheung to cruise into knockout stage

Indian badminton player PV Sindhu. Photo: IOC

Tokyo, July 28 (MNN) India’s PV Sindhu entered the women’s singles Round of 16 by defeating world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 21-9, 21-16 in her final Group J match at the Tokyo Olympics here on Wednesday.

Sindhu’s better reach, movement and use of court depth and angles was too much to handle for the 28-year old Cheung, against whom the Indian came into the match with a 5-0 record.

After number 6 seed Sindhu raced to an 11-5 lead, Cheung tried to push the 26-year old Indian deep into the edges of the forehand backcourt. But that also meant she pushed quite a few shuttles long.

Sindhu, giving almost nothing in the forecourt with fine net play, soon wrapped up the first game 21-9.

Cheung fought back in the second game, moving Sindhu to the far backhand corner and inched to a 7-6 lead. As the rallies lengthened, Sindhu’s power came to her rescue a few times.

But Cheung’s relentless retrieving kept her neck and neck with the Indian, who sent a few wide in trying to end long rallies.

Cheung’s deception continued to keep her in the match, but PV Sindhu played an incredible down-the-line smash from almost the edge of the backhand corner to make it 15-14.

That was the trigger for the Indian to move decisively ahead as she upped the intensity to quickly set up six match points. She converted on the third, stepping into the net to smash her way to the top of her group and into the knockouts.

PV Sindhu defeated Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel 21-7, 21-10 in her opening group match on Sunday.

India’s B Sai Praneeth will later today take on Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in his final Group D men’s singles match. Praneeth is out of contention for the knockouts, having lost to Israel’s Misha Zilberman in straight games in his first group match.

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