BWF World Tour Finals badminton: India’s PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth win opening match

With Kento Momota and Rasmus Gemke withdrawing from men’s singles with injuries, Lakshya Sen qualified for the knockouts without playing a full match.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF

Indian badminton players PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth began their BWF World Tour Finals 2021 campaigns with wins over Denmark’s Line Christophersen and France’s Toma Junior Popov, respectively in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday.

PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist and reigning badminton world champion, beat Christophersen, who finished runners up at this year’s European championships, 21-14, 21-16, in her first match of Group A in women’s singles.

At the BWF World Tour Finals 2021, the participating players (in men’s and women’s singles) and doubles teams (in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles) are divided into two groups of four each in every category. The top two from each group make the semi-finals.

Against Christophersen’s aggressive play, PV Sindhu’s long reach and solid defence proved to be a perfect counter in the opening game as the Indian frustrated the young Dane to edge an 11-9 lead into the break.

After the restart, PV Sindhu, who won the event back in 2018, shifted gears and easily wrapped up the game 21-14.

The 21-year-old Line Christophersen showed more maturity in the second game and stayed on PV Sindhu’s coat-tails. However, with the score at 13-13, PV Sindhu forced the momentum in her favour with four back-to-back points and proceeded to end the match in straight games.

PV Sindhu will take on Germany’s Yvonne Li and Thai shuttler Pornpawee Chochuwong in the next two group matches on Thursday and Friday respectively.


Kidambi Srikanth starts men’s singles campaign with win

Earlier in the day, former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth eased past France’s Toma Junior Popov by a comfortable 21-14, 21-16 in the men’s singles Group B opener. Kidambi Srikanth will face three-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn in his next group match on Thursday.

Kidambi Srikanth’s young compatriot Lakshya Sen, meanwhile picked up valuable points in Group A after his opponent, world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan, was forced to retire with back pain shortly after the match began.

Rasmus Gemke also withdrew from the other group match against Viktor Axelsen with injury. With both Momota and Gemke withdrawing from the competition, Lakshya Sen and Viktor Axelsen will automatically progress to the knockout stage.

In women’s doubles, India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy went down 21-14, 21-18 to the Japanese second seeds Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida. Up against Bulgaria’s Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva on Thursday, the Indian pair will need to bounce back to keep their final four hopes alive.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also lost in the men’s doubles. The Indian duo went down 21-16, 21-5 to Danish pair Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in Group A.

Check out live updates from the BWF World Tour Finals 2021 here.

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