BIRMINGHAM, March 6: A profligate PV Sindhu was on Wednesday knocked out of the All England Championship by an industrious Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in the women’s singles opening round here.
In men’s singles, 2017 Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth defeated compatriot HS Prannoy 21-19, 21-19 in a pulsating contest.
Fifth-seeded Sindhu, who was beaten by Sung Ji twice in last three meetings, lost 16-21, 22-20, 18-21, despite saving as many as eight match points in the second and third game.
Sindhu went into the opener with an overall record of a 8-6 against Sung Ji but the Korean once again troubled the Indian in the 81-minute thrilling clash which went down to the wire.
Sindhu showed grit in the closing moments of the second and third game but also committed too many unforced errors during the match.
The Indian saved three match points at 17-20 in the second game to take the match to the decider, during which she saved five match points before suffering her fourth first-round loss at the USD 1 million event.
Sung Ji will face Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the second round.
The women’s doubles pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram fought hard before losing 21-18, 12-21, 12-21 to the Russian combination of Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Daveltova.
The opening clash between Sindhu and Sung Ji turned out to be a thrilling contest.
Sindhu enjoyed a 6-3 lead early on but Sung Ji drew level, helped by Sindhu’s poor judgement.
The Korean kept up the attack and entered the first interval with a lead of 11-8 after the Indian hit the net.
Sindhu dominated the rallies after the breather and drew parity at 11-11 with a cross-court smash.
However, the Indian struggled with her timing and committed too many unforced errors to allow the Korean a cushion of 16-14.
Sung Ji continued to gather points and clinched four game points. The Korean sealed it without much fuss when Sindhu struck out again. – PTI