PV Sindhu enters second round of French Open

Paris, (UNI) A dogged PV Sindhu progressed to the women’s singles second round after outwitting Canada’s Michelle Li in a decider at the French Open Super 750 badminton tournament here on Wednesday.

In an hour and 20 minutes encounter, Sindhu turned things around after losing the second game. She scripted a 20-22 22-20 21-19 victory in an absorbing round of 32 at the Arena Porte de la Chapelle here.

Sindhu came into the match against Li with her tails up as she had defeated her rival nine times in the last 12 matches. But the Canadian did not give in that easily. She gave a tough time to Sindhu by pushing the match into the decider.

A certain uncompromising chutzpah saw Sindhu, who is playing her second tournament after recuperating from a knee injury she sustained last year in the same tournament, win the second game after trailing 13-17.

While Sindhu took time to get into her groove, Li raced past her by taking 11-7 lead at the first break by executing an array of shots.

Sindhu remodeled her play after a bit of counseling from the legendary Prakash Padukone at the break. She roared back by pushing Li at the backline and tailored fanstastic forehand crosses and drops.

Soon both players were on par with 14-all and then 19-all when Li earned a game point only to concede to Sindhu to draw level again after smashing into the net.

Li again pocketed a game point, but Sindhu committed an unforced error as the Canadian won the first game.

In the second game, Sindhu allowed Li to take a 7-4 after failing to handle a flurry of cross-court drop shots. A forehand slap bolstered Li’s lead to 11-6 at the break.

Sindhu managed to reduce the lead by 12-14 by smashing into the body of Li, but a vigilant Li made it 17-13 by breathtaking cross-court and meticulous returns.

Sindhu scripted a come-from-behind essay after effecting a tight smash and bounced back to 18-18 with Li smashing into the net and at the lines.

Sindhu led Li 19-18 next with a lucky return bouncing at the backline but sent the subsequent shuttle wide. But, the Indian earned a game point but Li saved it with a sensational cross block.

Li hit one long and Sindhu smashed into the court to guide the match into the decider.

Sindhu made a strong start in the decider by taking an 8-6 lead and then an 11-7 advantage at the break.

As the Indian sailed to a 13-9 lead, Li clawed back to 13-all with superb cross-court net shots.

Unforced errors from both shuttlers left the scoresheet reading 17-all. A backhand smash on the body helped Li take 18-17 lead but a cross-court return kept Sindhu in the match.

Li then hit wide out of the line when Sindhu was two points away. The Indian player won two match points. While Li saved one with a perfect return, she smashed wide as Sindhu celebrated the victory with a loud cry.

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