The tragic cup continues for the hapless PV Sindhu at the Indonesian Open, which is offering a prize money of Rs 8 crore, 40 lakh.
In fact, difficulties are brewing for the former world champion, and getting out of control.
In her first round match, she was knocked out of the court by China’s He Bing Xiao 14-21 / 18-21 in just 32 minutes. Sindhu was unfortunately out of form and did not look like she was ever a player. Maybe it’s time she takes a two-month break to recharge her batteries and then comes to see how she charges against the big guns.
It’s not that Bing Xiao was new to him, they clashed for the 18th time after all this, but the Chinese are now 10-8 ahead.
India need not look forward to a pair of Arjun and Dhruv Kapila who could be world-beaters like Saisatvik Rankreddy and Chirag Shetty who are a real top-class doubles pair for India. The world-ranked 39-ranked pair defeated 31-ranked Japanese Matsui and Takeuichi in a powerful, fast-paced marathon at the Indonesian Open, winning 27-25 / 18-21 / 21-19 in 83 minutes. Badminton
Combining extremely well, with perfect synchronization, Dhruv Kapila was very effective near the net while Arjun controlled nicely from the baseline to get this win. In the first game, the Indians suddenly lost focus, going 8-3 and 11-6 at break on the break, and then comfortably 17-12, and the Japanese pair reached 18-18, losing 4 points on Trott.
Still beautiful, well-controlled servo watching them go 20-18. Matsui now came out with two great, highly deceptive drop shots to equalize at 20-20. In the extended game, the Japanese held 4 game points and were ready to win, but Arjun and Kapila fought hard each time to equalize, eventually winning the game 27-25.
In the second game, the Indians again looked ahead with an 11-7 lead in the middle. But the Ding Dong battle for supremacy over the Japanese was seen. Matsui again snatched the game 21-18 with great variations in smash and drops.
The referee saw the lead change hands several times until 17-17. Kapila created some good chances for Arjun playing with so much anticipation and control which came out with lightning to move on 19-18.
Due to Kapila’s two beautiful net skimming serve, the Indians finally got the decisive 21-19.
Lakshya Sen, a 20-year-old from Almora, Uttarakhand, who has spent two such wonderful years on the circuit, was badly off-color in a match against senior compatriot HS Pranav, who was surprisingly defeated 9-21 / 10-21. Defeat in just 34 minutes in a totally one-sided match.
The target was never in the match. His movements were clumsy and there was no control over the shuttle.
Romance on the other hand was dynamic on the court, playing with enthusiasm and positive energy, he was fast in his court coverage and took great advantage of his overhead area. The combination of half and full blood smash kept guessing at the target all the time. He seemed to feel uncomfortable hitting the smash but then if he was carrying some old injury to his playing shoulder which is re-emerging, as is rumored, he should not have played the match. Once you’re on the court you’re simple meat. The affair, on the other hand, was quick, decisive and extremely agile. He enjoyed following his smash on the net and then hammering the shuttle with glee.
He took a really big lead in both games before gaining an 11-6 and 13-6 to 21-10 lead. The other saw him destroy the target with an 18-7 lead. There was no going back now. In fact, Pranoy will wonder how the match went so smoothly. Finally, we have seen in the German, All England and Indian Open what a die-hard fighter the target is.
Missing his point-winning signature stroke. It was his confidence that would definitely take a big hit. One would only hope that this kind of exit from the court would be a perversion as far as the Almora boy is concerned. And should not become a routine.
Coach Vimal Kumar agreed that there seemed to be a problem because his ward was not aggressive enough. I guess he seemed to have a problem smashing. I know he’s playing with striped shoulders.
It would be better if he took a break from next month’s Commonwealth Games and the fast-paced World Championships, worked on his fitness and then went to the tournament. “
The players who guided are ironic India Coming out as the Croppers, the phenomenal winner in the Thomas Cup last month. Because even veteran Kidambi Srikkanth had dusted off against Bryce Leverdas of France, which meant that the only Indian survivors in the men’s singles were Pranoy and Sameer Verma.
The incredible factor here that attracts the imagination of the person is that France has no badminton heritage, culture or background, it is producing players of Bryce Leverdas ability who face and beat an excellent and prestigious shuttler like Kidambi Srikkanth. The main reason here is that Paris is hosting the 2024 Olympics and France wants to do well. The French joined the action after one of their shuttlers, Tomas Popov Jr., stunned observers by winning a bronze medal at the 2022 European Championships.
Before I get back to the matches of Pranoy and Arjun and Kapila let’s see how the other players performed.
In mixed doubles, our lone entrants Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Krasto lost to Cheng Tak and NG Wing 14-21 / 18-21. In the women’s doubles, the experienced pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy were defeated 16-21 / 15-21 by Chen Qing / Jia Fan of China. In the men’s doubles, Manu Atri and Sumit Reddy lost to Japan’s Toke / Hugo Takashi 8-21 / 11-21.
Harika / Ashna Roy lost to McPherson and Torrance of Scotland on 10-21 / 8-21. And in the women’s doubles, another Indian pair defeated Ashwini Bhatt / Shikha Gautam 8-21 / 11-21 by Zheng Shu / Zheng Yu.
MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila lost to world-ranked 118 Chinese Yu Chen Liu and Xuan Yi 19-21 / 13-21. The Chinese were awesome on the net, incredibly fast, where they struck like lightning.
The Indians made constant mistakes trying to play drive shots on the net, but the Chinese would end the rally at that time and there. Arjun and Kapila did not want to take the bird to the baseline because they were afraid of the smash coming out. But you have more time to react to a smash, no matter how hard it hits, than a lightning faucet that kills the shuttle from here and there. The result was that we rarely got into an attack and our defenses were tested every time.
In the first game, despite the Indians being behind all the time, Kapila and MR Arjun won three points in a row to level the score at 17-17 due to a momentary break in concentration by Xuan. But then she was Chinese all the way. In the second game, Arjun and Dhruv were outgun at every step.
This was the only Indian HS affair at the Indonesian Open as Samir also lost. And he had a wonderful time on the court against Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus in the pre-quarter finals. The two played 7 times against each other and were 4 to 3 ahead of NG. But the important thing is that Pranoy has won the last two bouts. Pranoy won 21-11 / 21-18 in Jakarta.
He was perfectly comfortable in the first game, moving extremely well and catching Angus on the wrong foot due to his deception. India’s Thomas Cup hero was not in the mood for patience. Sharp drops attached to the body line smash in the second game were well on target. The win over Angus now pitted Pranav against Denmark’s Rasmus Gamek in the quarterfinals. The two last met last month in the Thomas Cup semifinals where the romance slipped badly and he sprained his left ankle. Nevertheless, he went ahead with the game by playing a surprisingly controlled game and daringly tried to get a memorable victory.
As in his quarter-final against, Pranoy was just disliked, he was brilliant in every way and he completely eliminated Dan, who is higher than the 13th ranked Indian in the world who is ranked 23rd in the world. Pranoy was in terrible form. This was a masterclass for Gemke. This is the second time Pranoy has reached the semifinals of this big tournament.
The first was 5 years ago. Pranoy was not in the mood for service. Leading from the start in both games, he only destroyed the hapless Dan.
With a 7-1 lead in the first game, it went 11-7 with an amazing dominance on the net as the desperate Gameke tried to tie the knot in the long rallies. But a very accurate smash on both sides of Gemke got him a lot of points. He took a 14-7 and 19-13 lead, eventually ending the first 21-14.
Pranoy has this unique ability to rotate and twist his torso by changing the direction of the shuttle to get to the cross-court, while jumping for a last-minute smash. So when the opponent is sure that the shuttle will come down the line, the affair will fool him and go to the cross-court at the last minute.
This is fraud at its best. Gamek repeatedly fell into this trap. The second gamek tried to give a little fight to 8-8. But after the romance came with a wonderful recovery to remove any signs of aggression from Dan, the frustrated Gamek just threw the towel and crashed 12-21. Pranav will now face top Chinese Zhao Pung in the semifinals.
In a remarkable career that has seen many ups and downs, because romance is so traumatic, he is determined to beat the 5 legends who ranked the former World 1 in his time. Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long, Soon Wan Ho and the influential Victor Axelson. So it was expected that he would be able to create magic at the Indonesian Open as we have seen him play in excellent form so far and claim the title.
But alas, that was not to be. Playing a highly dependent semifinal match against top Chinese Zhao Pung, he suffered a massive 16-21 / 15-21 defeat in two straight games in just 40 minutes.
He won the toss and elected to field. He wanted to play against the draft in the stadium. But he got sandwiched between wanting to play good high lifts but ended up playing outside the baseline. He wanted to play Zhao back as much as possible because he was hitting a thunderous smash and romance wanted to avoid this. In the bargain, Pranoy pulled out the bird.
Zhao, 26, is from the south, left-handed and these players are very deceptive playing overhead. Pranoy did not think about this virtue and kept trying to lift the backhand of the Chinese, who turned it into an overhead and made a lot of points.
Pranoy, who turns 30 next month, looked nervous and slow at the start of the first game but reached the semifinals without losing a single game, while Zhou had two tough matches that were extended to three close games.
But Zhao played with a lot of confidence and aggression. Her smash and follow-up on the net were really fast and she kept the affair under pressure. Her crosscourt smash and quick follow-up on the net were really remarkable.
In badminton, the baseline to cross net area is the longest distance to cover, as did the southern paw of China with the announcement. Zhou was always in the lead in the first game and won 21-16. In the second game too, Zhou took the lead from the start, in fact, the affair was always behind in both games.
And at 9-14, he lost the conspiracy and lost any chance of winning the match, fell into a cycle of mistakes and was out 15-21.
This was the end of the Indian campaign in Indonesia.