BWF World Tour Finals: Sindhu, Srikanth make winning starts; Ponnappa-Sikki lose

Bali (Indonesia): Ace Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth began their 2021 BWF World Tour Finals campaigns with wins over Denmark’s Line Christophersen and France’s Toma Junior Popov respectively, here on Wednesday.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu beat Christophersen 21-14, 21-16, in her first match of Group A in women’s singles.

Reigning badminton world champion’s long reach and solid defence countered Christophersen’s aggressive play in the opening game as she took an 11-9 lead into the break. After the restart, Indian shifted gears and easily wrapped up the game 21-14.

In the second game, the 21-year-old Christophersen showed more maturity and gave competition to Sindhu. However, with the score at 13-13, the experienced shuttler forced the momentum in her favour with four back-to-back points and proceeded to end the match in straight games.

The 26-year old Sindhu will now take on Germany’s Yvonne Li and Thai shuttler Pornpawee Chochuwong in the next two group matches on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Notably, the participating players (in men’s and women’s singles) and doubles teams (in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles) are divided into two groups of four each in every category at the 2021 BWF World Tour Finals. The top two from each group make the semifinals.

Meanwhile, former world No 1 Kidambi Srikanth registered a comfortable 21-14, 21-16 victory over France’s Toma Junior Popov in the men’s singles Group B opener. Srikanth will face three-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn in his next group match on Thursday.

However, in the women’s doubles, India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy went down 21-14, 21-18 to the Japanese second seeds Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida. Up against Bulgaria’s Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva on Thursday, the Indian pair will need to bounce back to keep their final four hopes alive.

Later in the day, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will play their men’s doubles match while young Lakshya Sen will compete in men’s singles.

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