PV Sindhu, the lone Indian female in the China Open after Saina Nehwal's exit, produced a brilliant display to clinch the quarterfinals berth, defeating Beiwen Zhang in a tough three-game contest on Thursday. The Indian shuttler showed great character to stage a huge comeback after losing the first game, with the final score reading 18-21, 22-20, 21-17.
Though Sindhu defeated Zhang, the Chinese produced a sensational performance to test the Indian shuttler, who had to come up with A game in the second and third game to walk off victorious.
Sindhu did start the first game on a decent note, but she lacked consistency as it progressed. Zhang clawed back into the game and gained momentum to take a 18-15 lead, which made matters interesting. Sindhu, in desperate need to close the gap, scored some important points, but a few straight points to Zhang helped the Chinese clinch the first game.
Sindhu looked determined in the second game, and took the game to Zhang, who was trailing 0-8 at one point of time. She was much more aggressive in the second, and Zhang was not able to cope with Sindhu's offense. From there on, there was no stopping for the Rio silver medallist, who stretched her lead to 13-5 with some accurate smashes.
Just when one thought Sindhu was heading towards a comfortable second game, Zhang fought back and played some astounding badminton, and even came close to winning. But Sindhu, somehow, found her rhythm again at the right time to seal the game 22-20 to take it to the decider.
With the first two games having already produced a close contest, the final game was expected to follow the same route. It was extremely close with both players not giving an inch to the other. It was turning out to be a game of nerves, with scores reading 4-4, 8-8, 9-9, reflecting the tight nature of the contest.
From 9-9, Sindhu earned three straight points to earn a decent lead, and Zhang also made some unforced errors. Sindhu brought in all her experience as she began to push Zhang all around the circuit, thus scoring important points with some drop shots and smashes as well to take a 19-15 lead. Sindhu won two of the next three points to emerge victorious.
However, it was not too bright for the male shuttler Prannoy, who could not impress in the second round of the competition. Prannoy lost to Qiao Bin, who emerged victorious 21-17, 21-19.
Prannoy did look good against the Chinese in the tight encounter. Both the games were extremely close, but Bin showed his class in the clash, and scored some important points, which played an important role in helping the Chinese clinch the third round berth.