Though the scoreline may suggest a complete domination by the Indian, the story is a bit different as Sindhu was tested by her opponent. Pai played well in patches and troubled the Indian with her fast paced drives and smashes. However, there is nothing much to worry about Sindhu’s performance as the lanky Indian always takes some time to get into the groove. In most of the tournaments, Sindhu toils in the first couple of rounds even if the opponent is lower ranked than her. But once she settles in, she finds her length and is back at her best.
Even against the world No.45, Sindhu lost momentum in the second game. Leading 6-1, Sindhu started making mistakes and that helped Pai to close the gap at 10-10. Pai even went into the break with a one-point lead at 11-10. However, Sindhu regained control with a couple of powerful smashes. She even played well at the net. From 15-13, Sindhu powered ahead to 18-13 securing three consecutive points. With a forehand drive to the back of the court, Sindhu secured the winner and warmed up for the tougher battles ahead.
The four-time medallist at the World Championships will face Beiwen Zhang of USA, who defeated Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen of Australia in straight games 21-14, 21-13. The world No.5 Indian has a 4-3 record against Zhang. In 2018, Zhang won the first two matches while Sindhu clinched the next two. It will be a tough outing for the Indian but of late she added several new strokes to her armoury and is expected to prevail over the American.
Late on Wednesday, Saina Nehwal defeated Soraya de Visch Eijbergen of Netherlands 21-10, 21-11 in the second round to open her campaign in style. Saina took just 33 minutes to wrap up the contest. The 8th seed Indian will face 12th seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the next round.
Kidambi Srikanth registered a tough 13-21, 21-13, 21-16 victory over Misha Zilberman of Israel in the second round, in a contest which lasted 57 minutes. The seventh seed India will play Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand, seeded 12th, in the next round.
Late on Tuesday, top seed Akane Yamaguchi tumbled out of the tournament losing to Yeo Jia Min of Singapore 14-21, 18-21. However, former world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying faced no such issues as she eased past Fitriani Fitriani of Indonesia 21-15, 21-14. Tai will be involved in a tough encounter against fast-rising Korean youngster Kim Ga Eun, who defeated 16th seed Cai Yan Yan of China 21-14, 16-21, 21-10 in the second round.
Meanwhile, Indian challenge ended in women’s doubles. Seventh seeded Chinese Du Yue and Li Yin Hui defeated Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy 22-20, 21-16 while Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram lost to eighth seeded Japanese Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto 8-21, 18-21.
In men’s doubles Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy lost to China’s Han Cheng Kai and Zhou Hao Dong 16-21, 19-21.
The championships witnessed another major upset on Wednesday as top seeds in men’s doubles Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia were shocked by unseeded Koreans Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae 21-16, 14-21, 21-23.