Japan Open: PV Sindhu beats Minatsu Mitani to enter 2nd round

Saina Nehwal moves into Japan Open Round 2

Saina Nehwal moves into Japan Open Round 2

The world number two exacted revenge on the lower-ranked Japanese shuttler at the Korea Open final earlier this week with a 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 in an hour and 23 minutes.

London Olympics bronze medallist will take on reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the next round. However, with Ying having withdrawn from the Japan Open in the first round, the Indian has a strong chance of bridging the gap if she can manage another strong run in Tokyo.

Prannoy defeated Anders Antonsen 21-12, 21-14.

Fourth seed Sindhu will have to battle fatigue as the 22-year-old was tested in her first-round encounter on Wednesday, September 20 against Minatsu Mitani. Verma, however, is playing substantially better than he was back then, although it must be underscored that Shi has also improved greatly over the past 10 months, and now occupies the No 4 spot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings.

Eight seeded Srikanth, who had won the Indonesia and Australia Open, overcame China's Tian Houwei 21-15 12-21 21-11 in the 64-minute long game.

"It was a close match".

Following her superb run at last week's Korea Open Super Series, PV Sindhu climbed back to her career-best ranking of World No. 2 in the new BWF World Rankings are released today on Thursday. Mitani's style does not suit Sindhu's game at all. However, once Sindhu neutralised the lead at 7-all, she was not headed off, and stayed at least three points ahead, all the way to the tape. It was not a dominating performance, but better suited to being ranked alongside those that tennis player Brad Gilbert has recounted in his book Winning Ugly, that provides lessons in waging mental warfare.

However, Sameer's elder brother, Sourabh suffered a major blow as he got knocked out of the tournament after slumping to a 21-11, 15-21, 13-21 defeat at the hands of two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan of China.

Sindhu vs Okuhara - Another marathon encounter? After more than a year the two shuttlers, who have met seven times, including the 2015 World Championships final, will have a go at each other on Thursday in Tokyo. Sindhu's other competitor Okuhara won the World Championship final.

The victor of the Indonesia and Australian Open Super Series in June, Srikanth will take on Hong Kong's HU Yun Hu for a spot in the quarterfinals. Sindhu was beaten by Okuhara in the world meet final that extended to an hour and 50 minutes last month.

So evenly matched are the two players, with Sindhu's height, reach, power and aggression being blunted by Okuhara's outstanding footwork, netplay, speed of foot and defence, that it is well-nigh impossible to predict the victor.

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