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All England Championship: Sindhu goes down to An Se Young

An error-prone PV Sindhu suffered a straight-game defeat to her nemesis An Se Young of Korea in the women’s singles second round at the All England badminton Championships here on Thursday.

Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, seemed to be in good touch as she fought hard against the world No. 1 Korean but failed to curb her mistakes as she slipped to a 19-21, 11-21 loss in their 42-minute clash.

It was the Indian’s seventh successive loss to the indomitable An Se Young, who had become the first Korean woman singles player to win the World Championships last year.

The Korean won in Malaysia and France this season, while Sindhu is on a comeback trail after recovering from a left knee injury.

READ | All England Championship: Lakshya, Tanisha-Ashwini progress to pre-quarterfinals

The Indian tried to attack, but her 22-year-old opponent looked in a different league as she varied the pace of the rallies and used her repertoire of strokes well to come up trumps.

For Sindhu, things went downhill after the break in the second game as errors kept piling up.

Sindhu was up 4-1, but An Se Young started reading the game better and slowed down the rallies. She kept sending the tosses and clears, waiting for errors from Sindhu, who invariably sent the shuttle wide and long.

Soon the Korean was 9-6 up. She committed two unforced errors before charging to the net to put one away, and when Sindhu faltered at the net, it was 11-8 in favour of Young.

Sindhu kept the attack, producing a backhand push and a cross smash. The Korean, however, stayed solid in her defence to move to 13-10 and then 15-11 with another precise smash.

Sindhu tried to charge to the net and target her rival’s body, but Young’s instinct helped her to survive twice as she sent the shuttle away.

From 13-17, Sindhu fought back to 16-17. But Young again pulled away with two points before grabbing four-game points with a forehand drop.

Sindhu pounced one at the net and then produced a tight smash on her rival’s forehand to stay alive. The Korean then slipped during a rally as Sindhu made it 19-20.

However, just in time, An Se Young sent a backhand sailing over Sindhu’s head to the backline to seal the opening game.

The second game started on a tight note before An Se Young opened up a three-point lead. While Sindhu struggled to get winners, Young kept varying the pace and sending everything back.

Another cross-court smash took the Korean to 9-4. She grabbed a five-point lead at the interval with another incredible cross-court net shot.

Frustration was piling up for Sindhu as she wasted a video referral after going long by a big margin and dumped into the net twice next as the Korean led 15-9.

Another backhand and a forehand return went to the net and it became 10-18.

Two more unforced errors from the Indian helped An Se Young grab nine match points. She sealed the match with another lovely return at the front court.

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