PV Sindhu was beaten by Beiwen Zhang in the first round of Korea Open after losing to the unseeded USA shuttler 21-7, 22-24, 15-21 on Wednesday. Sindhu was surging ahead from the word go and wrapped the first game quite comfortably. It appeared to be another routine victory for the recently-crowned world champion. However, the American shuttler responded to save a match point and script a comeback in the second game 24-22.
Zhang wasted no time in the decider and bagged points quickly to unsettle the shuttler from Hyderabad. She eventually won the third game swiftly to defeat Sindhu and set up a second-round clash with Michelle Li of Canada. Notably, this was a second successive early exit for Sindhu. The 24-year-old had previously suffered a loss in the second round of the China Open last week.
Apart from PV Sindhu-Beiwen Zhang clash, India’s men’s singles shuttler B Sai Praneeth made an early exit from the Super 500 tournament after he was forced to retire midway in his match against Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the opening round. Praneeth had lost the first game 9-21 and was trailing 7-11 in the second when he chose to retire because of injury and thus sending Antonsen through to the Round of 16.
The 27-year-old shuttler entered the Korea Open on the back of a quarter-final exit at the China Open last week where he lost to World No 9 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia. Praneeth had won a bronze medal at the World Badminton Championships in Basel, ending India's 36-year drought for a medal in men's singles category. Eighth-seeded Saina Nehwal will be in action later on Wednesday against Korean Kim Ga Eun. The 29-year-old from Hyderabad has a 2-0 head-to-head record against Kim and another win over the Korean is likely to pit her against Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap will take on a qualifier in his opening round.