New Delhi: Young Indian shuttlecock Ashmita Chaliha took the tournament’s first loss when she stunned Evgeniya Kosetskaya as fifth seed, while top division champion PV Sindhu also sailed into the second round of the India Open women’s singles here on Tuesday.
Unseeded Chaliha took just 31 minutes to get the best No. 28 in the world, the Russian 24-22 21-16, while taking home a double Olympic medalist. Sindhu crossed compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-5 21-16 in her opening round.
It was quiet for Chirag Sen, however, as he lost 8-21 7-21 to Soong Joo Ven of Malaysia in the opening round of the men’s singles.
In her opener, Chaliha started off strong by putting her in past the line smashes to open an 11-5 lead, and she looked comfortable against the tall Russian.
However, the Indian made a lot of mistakes after the break and Kosetsyaka seized the opportunity to first tie the score at 14-14 and then fought back again from 16-19 to earn her first game point.
But the girl from Guwahati, who had lost to the Russian in their previous encounter in 2019, managed to regroup to force her opponent into an unforced foul and then saved two more game points before taking the opener with a smash.
The second game followed a similar trajectory as Chaliha opened an 11-4 lead, then the Russian approached 19-16. However, the Indian had more control this time and kept her cool under pressure to finish the game in 31 minutes.
“I haven’t played many games in recent years. So I was nervous and that hit me halfway through the opening game. But when I won the first game, I was more confident and so I was relaxed in the second game,” Chaliha said after the game.
“It’s a big event and I was looking forward to playing against the Russian, but I played it safe and it helped to get the game out of it.
“This was one of my biggest wins. I played against her before I had lost to her in straight games, so it was my biggest win,” she told reporters in a virtual press conference.
Chaliha now faces France’s Yaelle Hoyaux, who defeated Indian Riya Mookerjee 14-21 13-21.
Sindhu then plays the winner of the match between Hany Doha from Egypt and Ira Sharma from India.
In the other matches of the opening session, K Sai Prateekh and Gayatri Gopichand mixed doubles defeated Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro 21-16 16-21 21-17.
Men’s doubles frontrunners Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia kicked off their campaign with a winning start by beating Prem Singh Chouhan of India and Rajesh Verma 21-18 21-10.
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