Jakarta, Aug 23 (IANS) Top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu registered contrasting victories in the first round in women’s singles matches at the 18th Asian Games here on Thursday.
While Saina swept aside Soraya Aghaeihajiagha of Iran 21-7, 21-9 in less than half an hour, Sindhu snatched a 21-10, 12-21, 23-21 victory from the jaws of defeat against Vietnam’s Thi Trang Vu.
Saina was utterly dominant from the word go and gave her opponent no room to fashion any sort of chance.
Sindhu, on the other hand, breezed past Vu in the first game where the gulf in class between the two players was clearly visible.
But Vu, ranked 52 in the world, made the most of a raft of errors by Sindhu to stun her 21-12 in the second game and take the match all the way down to the wire.
Sindhu frittered away a comfortable two-game lead, and in the third game was leading 18-15 before losing her head.
Vu was relentless and showed nerves of steel to fight her way back and make it 18-18. The contest headed for a thrilling climax with both players locked 19-19.
Vu’s shot sailed over the baseline and the World No.3 Sindhu had her first match point which she threw away by smashing the shuttle into the net.
Sindhu again had a match point at 21-20 and smashed one hard on the left of Vu but it was just out.
She earned her third match point when Vu’s shot found the net and this time Sindhu sealed it with a smash which her opponent could not return.
Earlier, Indian men’s and women’s doubles teams got off to winning starts in their respective round of 32 matches.
The women’s pair of Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki Reddy registered a convincing 21-16, 21-15 win over their Hong Kong counterparts Yeung Nga Ting and Wing Yung Ng.
The Indians gave little quarter to their counterparts and used their experience to see off late surges in both sets.
Later, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty eased past the Hong Kong pair of Chun Hei Tam and Yonny Chung 21-12, 21-14 using their superior physical power to good effect.
Both Rankireddy and Shetty looked superior from the start to the finish, wrapping up the tie in 32 minutes.