New Delhi: Young Indian shuttler Ashmita Chaliha recorded the first upset of the India Open when she stunned fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya while top seed PV Sindhu also sailed into the women’s singles second round of the tournament here on Tuesday.
Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew was stretched to three games while home favourite Kidambi Srikanth registered a convincing win in their respective men’s singles first round matches of the World Tour 500 tournament series event.
Loh defeated Canada’s Xiaodong Sheng 16-21, 21-4, 21-13 while Srikanth packed off former junior world No. 1 Siril Verma 21-17, 21-10 to advance to the second round. Unseeded Chaliha took just 31 minutes to get the better of world number 28 Russian 24-22 21-16, while double Olympic medallist Sindhu cruised past compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-5 21-16 in her opening round.
However, it was curtains for Chirag Sen as he lost 8-21 7-21 to Soong Joo Ven of Malaysia in the men’s singles opening round. In her opener, Chaliha began strongly by employing her down-the-line smashes to open up an 11-5 lead.
However, the Indian made a lot of errors after the break and Kosetsyaka pounced on the opportunity to first level the score at 14-14 and then fight back from 16-19 to earn her first game point. But the girl from Guwahati, who had lost to the Russian in their earlier contest back in 2019, managed to regroup and forced her opponent to make an unforced error and then saved two more game points before clinching the opener with a smash.
The second game followed a similar trajectory as Chaliha opened up an 11-4 lead, only for the Russian to close in to 19-16. However, the Indian was more in control this time around and kept her cool under pressure to finish off the match in 31 minutes. “I haven’t played a lot of matches in the last few years. So, I was nervous and that affected me midway in the opening game. But once I won the first game, I was more confident and so I was relaxed in the second game,” Chaliha said after the match.