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French Open: PV Sindhu avenge earlier loss against Beiwen Zhang to advance into second round

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Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu breezed past Beiwen Zhang in straight games to cruise into the second round of the French Open in Paris on Tuesday.

Seeded third, the Olympics silver medallist defeated the unseeded Zhang 21-17 21-8 in just 34 minutes to avenge her disappointing defeat against the same opponent in the opening round of the Denmark Open, last week.

It was also the 23-year-old’s first victory over the American after three consecutive losses. She had earlier won twice and is levelled on 3-3 on head-to-head meetings.

Like last week, Sidhu was once again slow off the breaks as Zhang took an initial lead. But aggressive on her intent, Sindhu roared back into the contest to take a 7-4 lead and increase the advantage further at 10-6.

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But not the one to give up and on the back of a successful year, Zhang showed Sidhu the fight in her with five straight points to jump to a one-point lead at 11-10. Both the shuttlers then battled it point on point till the 16th points from where Sindhu used her experience to the fullest to pocket the opening game 21-17.

Sidhu continued her aggressive approach even in the second game in a pursuit of completely blowing Zhang away. Mixing her game with smashes and constantly hitting the lines, Sindhu raced from 3-3 at one point to a 10-3 lead after clinching seven straight points.

Zhang came back but only in sniffs and although she managed to decrease the deficit by two points at 11-6, Sindhu was too hot for her to handle this time. The World No.3 eventually won 21-8.

Despite being lower ranked, Zhang, who has moved from Singapore to the United States has been troubling Sindhu and managed to defeat her in each of their last three meetings. She had earlier defeated Sindhu at the second round of the Indonesia Open last year before also overseeing her at the finals of the 2018 Indian Open. Just last week she had upset the superior ranked shuttler in the opening round of the Denmark Open.

“I am happy to beat a difficult player like Zhang,” Sindhu was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.  ‘I was determined to give my 100% but I still made mistakes in the first game. It was a tough first game but the second was a bit easy,” she added after the victory.

The world championship silver medallist will next face the winner of the first round match between Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong and Japan’s Sayaka Sato.

“I am quite focused to do well in this tournament. I was not thinking too much about my next opponent as all the players are more or less at the same level in these type of tournaments,” said Sindhu, reports the news agency.

Meanwhile, it was game over for the men’s doubles pair of Arjun M R and Shlok Ramachandran, who went down fighting 14-21 17-21 against Li Junhui and Liu Yunchen of China in the first round.

Image Source: News 18.com