Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu stitched a clinical win over Hong Kong's NY Cheung in a Group J encounter to secure a place in the Round of 16 women's singles badminton event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The current world champion topped her group with a 21-9, 21-16 win over Cheung as Sindhu extended her winning streak over the Hong Kong shuttler. She had even registered a straight set win over Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel in her opening match.
Sindhu, who won the silver medal in the last edition of the Olympic games in Rio and is being touted as one of the prime contenders for gold medal in this edition of the Games, will now be up against Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt, who topped Group I.
Sindhu has a superior 4-1 head to head record against her Round of 16 opponent
In a big positive for the Indian fans heading into that match, Sindhu has a 4-1 head to head record against the Denmark shuttler, although it is a different story that Blichfeldt's only win against the Indian came at the Thailand Open earlier this year.
The Hyderabad badminton star used her strokes and her ability to vary the pace of play to trouble the Hong Kong player, making her run around the court and gain advantage. Once she had put her opponent, where she would have liked, she aced with her perfect placement on an open court.
Cheung tried to stage a comeback in the second game but Sindhu prevails
Although Cheung did manage to get a few points with her deceptive cross-court returns at times, she did far too many unforced errors to exert real pressure on Sindhu. The Indian, by contrast, led 6-2 early before moving to 10-3. She entered the interval at 11-5 and then resumed to reach 20-9 before taking the first game.
Cheung did her best to stage a comeback in the second game and even extended the rallies with Sindhu struggling to take charge. At one stage, the score was levelled at 6-6 and 8-8 in the second game. However, eventually Sindhu regained her rhythm and composure to take the second set 21-16.