Indonesia Open: Kidambi Srikanth’s title defence ends, PV Sindhu wins

Defending champion Kidambi Srikanth’s campaign ended with a narrow opening-round loss but Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu eked out a thrilling win to progress to the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals of the USD 1,250,000 Indonesia Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament here today.
Former World No 1 Srikanth suffered his second successive loss to in-form Japanese Kento Momota, ranked 11th, in two weeks. The Indian lost 21-12 14-21 15-21 in the opening match that lasted exactly an hour at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno.
Momota had ended Srikanth’s campaign at Malaysia Open last week and even though the Indian failed to avenge the loss, it was a far superior performance by the 25-year-old fourth seed.
Overall, it was Srikanth’s seventh loss to the former world no 2 Momota, who has been in impressive form since coming back from a one-year ban due to illegal gambling.
However, Sindhu brought some smiles back in the Indian camp after seeing off Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-15 19-21 21-13, setting up a clash with Japan’s Aya Ohori on the eve of her 23rd birthday tomorrow.
Earlier, young Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka went down 12-21 10-21 to Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt.
The men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy stretched the world no 2 Chinese pair of Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan to three games before surrendering 21-15 15-21 17-21 to the third seeded combo.
In mixed doubles, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 12-21 14-21 to fourth seeded pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.
In the women’s singles match, Sindhu was asked some serious questions by the 20-year-old Pornpawee, as she grabbed a slender 11-10 lead at the first interval.
The Indian seemed to struggle with her timing initially but two cross court smash and a misjudgement at backline by her opponent helped Sindhu to lead 14-13.
Sindhu showed great defence and seemed to have stepped up her pace as she soon moved to 19-14 and brought up five game point chances after attacking her opponent’s back hand. A disguised shot ended the opening game in Sindhu’s favour.
Sindhu seemed to struggle with the length of her strokes as she hit long and short to allow Pornpawee control the second game early on.
The Thai girl moved to a 7-2 lead but Sindhu recovered well to first claw back at 10-10 with six straight points and then entered the interval with a one-point advantage when the Thai hit the net.
Pornpawee turned the table by making it 15-13 before moving to 19-16 when Sindhu found the net. But the Thai blew the advantage as the Indian gained three straight points, including a good-looking smash, to claw back at 19-19.