Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu’s inconsistent run continued as she made an opening round exit in the Korea Open Super 500 tournament with a narrow three-game loss to Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu-Po on Wednesday.
Sindhu, who slipped to world number 17 this week, lost to the 32-year-old world no. 22 Pai Yu-Po 18-21 21-10 13-21 in the women’s singles opening round. The contest lasted 58 minutes.
Ever since returning from a five-month long injury layoff, Sindhu
has struggled to string together a series of wins in a week, resulting in a title-less streak this season.
A former world number 2 Sindhu, who had suffered a stress fracture on her ankle during her title-winning run at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, currently has 49,480 points from 14 tournaments.
This is her lowest ranking in over a decade. The last time she was ranked 17th was in January, 2013. She has been inside the top 10 since 2016, having reached a career-best world number 2 in April, 2016.
Sindhu will hope she finds her footing quickly in the Olympic qualification period which ends in April next year, especially after getting the services of Malaysian coach Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, a former All England champion.
The 2019 World Champion, Sindhu had reached the final of the Madrid Spain Masters, her best finish this season. She registered a semifinal finish at Malaysia Masters and Canada Open but made a quarterfinal exit in the next event at the US Open.
Mixed pair of N Sikki Reddy and Rohan Kapoor, who had won the Victor Denmark Masters international challenge in June, made it to the second round with a 21-17 21-17 win over Phillipines’ Alvin Morada and Alyssa Ysabel Leonardo.
The Indian duo will face Chinese fourth seeds Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping next.
Aakarshi Kashyap, Tasnim Mir, Mithun Manjunath and Ashmita Chaliha — all were ousted from the tournament in the first round, underlining the huge gulf in quality in the second batch of Indian shuttlers.
While Kashyap lost 12-21 17-21 to China’s world number 20 Zhang Yi Man, Mir went down 11-21 18-21 to Korea’s world no. 19 Kim Ga Eun.
National champion Mithun was no match for Malaysia’s world number 23 Ng Tze Yong and Ashmita too sink without a trace against Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei, losing 13-21 12-21.
The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.
One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.
(With inputs from Agencies)