London, March 11 (IANS) Reigning world champion P.V. Sindhu beat USA’s Beiwen Zhang to go through to second round of the 2020 All England Open. Sindhu took just 42 minutes to beat the 14th ranked Zhang 21-14, 21-17 in what was a solid start for her in the tournament.
Former world no.1 Kidambi Srikanth’s poor form continued as he was beaten by reigning Olympic champion Chen Long 21-15, 21-16 later in the day. It was Srikanth’s fourth first round exit in the five tournaments that he has played this year.
Both players were off to a lacklustre start but Sindhu soon gained control of the game and took it within 17 minutes. Zhang was far more competitive in the second game and moved into the lead after the mid-game interval. Zhang was leading 15-11 at one point before Sindhu pulled things back. Zhang held a slender advantage of 17-16 after which Sindhu won all the remaining points to seal victory.
She next faces South Korean world no 12 Sung Ji Hyun in the second round.
While Srikanth showed fight in the first game against Chen Long, he was taken apart by the third seed in the second. He had reached the quarter finals last year and this results makes it even more difficult for him to secure qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy started India’s campaign with a commendable showing against Chinese top seeds Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang in the mixed doubles first round. They lost the match 21-13, 11-21, 21-17.
Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneetha and Lakshya Sen will be playing later in the day in singles while Sikki will team up with Ashwini Ponnappa in women’s doubles.