World champion Pusarla V Sindhu crashed to her second straight early-round defeat, as she fell in the opening round of the Korea Open 2019 to Beiwen Zhang.
Zhang fought back from an opening game hammering and match point down in the second to overcome Sindhu, 7-21 24-22 21-15. At last week’s VICTOR China Open, Sindhu had fallen in the second round.
It came off the back of news that Sindhu’s coach Kim Ji Hyun had resigned from the Indian team due to personal reasons.
Beiwen Zhang will take on Canada’s Michelle Li, who avenged last week’s defeat to Pornpawee Chochuwong, beating the Thai 21-19 21-19.
It wasn’t a bright day for India, with Sindhu’s women’s singles compatriot Saina Nehwal exiting the tournament after retiring in the third game against local hope Kim Ga Eun, while trailing 19-21 21-18 8-1.
Another casualty for the Indians was World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth, who retired against fifth seed Anders Antonsen with the Dane leading 21-9 11-7.
There was a raft of retirements on the day, including women’s singles top seed Akane Yamaguchi, Li Xue Rui, China Open runners-up Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping, and young Korean women’s doubles pair Jeong Na Eun/Kim Min Ji.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai achieved an impressive result in women’s doubles, as they beat in-form Dutch pair Selena Piek/Cheryl Seinen 21-14 21-17. They next face China Open champions Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan.
No Stopping Kento
In a contest between the world champion and the world junior champion, Kento Momota swept past Kunlavut Vitidsarn, 21-17 21-13.
In the same quarter, Viktor Axelsen, who is on his comeback trail from injury, had it easy in his opening round against Zhao Jun Peng, and will face Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia.
Chinese superstar Lin Dan couldn’t make any headway, losing for the first time in three matches against Malaysia’s Liew Daren, 21-19 21-14.