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BWF World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu qualifies for knockouts

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Bali: India’s two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu progressed to the knockout stage of the BWF World Tour Finals with a straight-game win over Germany’s Yvonne Li in her second group A match on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Sindhu, the only Indian to win the prestigious title in 2018 and a finalist a year before, outplayed world no 23 Li 21-10 21-13 in 31 minutes.

The reigning world champion will square off against top seed Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand next in her last group match.

World number 14 Kidambi Srikanth, who had reached the knockout stage in the 2014 edition of the year-ending event, jeopardised his chances of making it to the knockout stage after going down 18-21 7-21 to three-time junior world champion Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in his second men’s singles group B match.

Earlier, the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy suffered their second successive loss in the event, going down fighting 19-21 20-22 to Bulgaria’s Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva to bow out of contention.

The Indian duo will face England’s Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith in their last Group B match. The top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty handed a walkover to top seeded Indonesian pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo after the former complained of knee pain. The duo will not take further participation in the tournament.

Sindhu looked in good rhythm and played at a good pace, engaging her rival in short rallies and soon jumped to a 5-1 lead, before entering the mid-game interval with a six-point advantage.

The Indian took the initiative and produced some good angled returns to trouble her opponent. Soon Sindhu moved to 10 game points with a precise down-the-line smash and then pocketed the opening game with a deceptive net shot.

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