Indian Challenge Ends at the Australian Open 2019

By: Editor
Date: 07 Jun, 2019
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From PV Sindhu to Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth to Satwirk Sairaj, the Indians had a formidable line-up to step up on Day 2 of the Crown Group Australian Open in Sydney, and yet at the end all of them ended up on the losing side and thereby ending the Indian challenge down under. All of them had their moments, and yet couldn’t capitalize on them to make it to the next round.

Men’s singles sixth seed Sameer Verma had a slow start against Wang Tzu Wei, as he lost the first game 16-21, but wrested back the initiative by storming the second game 21-7. A decider was nicely poised, but Sameer didn’t quite have the legs to press on, as Wang Tzu Wei took the game and the match in a grueling hour-long contest.

Satwik Sairaj and Chiraag Shetty were the next Indians on court, taking on the second seeded pair – Li Junhui & Liu Yuchen. A hard fought first game went to the Chinese 21-19 and the Indian pair really tried their best in the second one too. But the story was just the same in the second game as the formidable opponents closed the game and the match 21-18. 

Women’s third seed and Indian number one PV Sindhu took on Nitchaon Jindapol for a place in the quarterfinals. Both players stayed with each other, even as Jindapol opened up a slender lead mid-way into the first game. But Sindhu clawed back her advantage and tied the game at 19-apiece and both players had a shot at taking the early lead, only for Jindapol to pip her at the post.

The second game had a similar complexion and Sindhu lost in two games straight 21-19 21-18.

B. Sai Praneeth, by this time, was only one of the two Indians left in the draw. With a game point at 20-17, Sai looked well in control of the opening game against second seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. Ginting brought in all his experience into play, as he first clawed back to save three game points and then eventually took the game 25-23. 

The first game loss seemed to have quite a bearing on Praneeth, as he looked completely out of gas in the second game, as the second seed romped home 21-9.

The final Indian left in the fray, Parupalli Kashyap took on the might of Lin Dan and produced a stirring performance in an hour and seven-minute contest. Two aging warriors – Kashyap and Lin Dan – went at it in a gladiatorial content as the match swayed from one side to the other. 

Lin Dan took the opening game 21-17 only for Kashyap to come back and take the second 20-22. An enthralling decider was on the cards, with Lin Dan taking the match in the decider 21-14.

And thus ended the Indian challenge at the 2019 Crown Group Australian Open. There was plenty of promise, and as the team heads back home they will know that they had their chances and had a few of them being taken, it could well have been a different ending to the story!

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