BWF World Tour Finals badminton: India’s PV Sindhu finishes runners-up in her group

The Indian badminton player lost to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in three games. PV Sindhu had already qualified for the semi-finals.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Indian badminton player PV Sindhu lost to Thai top seed Pornpawee Chochuwong 12-21, 21-19, 14-21 in her third Group A match at the BWF World Tour Finals 2021 in Bali, Indonesia on Friday.

The result means PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist and reigning badminton world champion, finished runners-up in her group and will face the Group B winner Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the top four.

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.

Heading into the match, both PV Sindhu and Pornpawee Chochuwong had confirmed their semis berths and were playing for the top position in Group A.

It was the Thai shuttler who controlled the early rallies and kept PV Sindhu, who won the tournament back in 2018, on the backfoot.

Down 6-11 at the mid-game interval, PV Sindhu tried to take control of the net but Chochuwong countered with some impeccably-placed winners to take the first game.

Aiming for a comeback, PV Sindhu took control early in the second game and even took a handy 12-6 lead but Chochuwong fought back to level it up at 16-16. In what was a photo-finish to the game, PV Sindhu edged it out 21-19 and forced a decider.

Though both players went toe-to-toe in the early exchanges, it was Chochuwong who broke free towards the end to win the match in an hour and 11 minutes.

PV Sindhu had beaten Denmark’s Line Christophersen and Germany’s Yvonne Li in her first two group matches.

PV Sindhu, along with Lakshya Sen, in men’s singles, will be India’s only representatives in the knockout rounds.

Lakshya Sen made the semis after finishing second in Group A of men’s singles behind Tokyo champion Viktor Axelsen. With world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan and Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke withdrawing from the tournament, Lakshya Sen and Viktor Axelsen qualified automatically.

Kidambi Srikanth knocked out from BWF World Tour Finals

Meanwhile, India’s Kidambi Srikanth bowed out of the competition following a 21-19, 21-14 loss to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia in his final match in men’s singles Group B.

Kidambi Srikanth, a former world No. 1, won his opening match against Toma Junior Popov but lost the next two against Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn and Jia respectively to finish third in his group.

India’s women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also wrapped up their campaign, defeating English shuttlers Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith 21-19, 9-21, 21-14 in their final group encounter. The Indian duo were already eliminated from the tournament after losing their first two matches.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, India’s entry in men’s doubles, had pulled out of the tournament after their first match due to an injury to Satwik.

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