Asian Games 2018: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Ashwini disappoint in team event

Aug 21, 2018, 09:00 IST | Ashwin Ferro

"The Japanese girls had prepared well for us. Their defence was really good. We must strengthen our defence," Ashwini Ponnappa said, after disagreeing that she and PV Sindhu didn't gel as a team

Asian Games 2018: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Ashwini disappoint in team event
Ashwini Ponnappa

A lot is being expected from India's world-class shuttlers at the Asian Games, but the women began on the wrong foot with a 1-3 defeat to top seeds Japan in the quarter-finals of the team event at the GBK Sports Complex here yesterday. In the five-rubber encounter, the Indian eves were brushed aside in just four matches. PV Sindhu won 21-18, 21-19 against Akane Yamaguchi first-up after which N Sikki Reddy, who paired up with Arathi Sara, lost 15-21, 6-21 to Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota.

Saina Nehwal then went down 11-21, 25-23, 16-21 to Nozomi Okuhara to put India 1-2 behind. Then came what many felt was not a perfect move by the Indians. The second women's doubles pair of Sindhu and Ashwini Ponnappa, never looked to be in sync and went down 13-21, 12-21 to Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi.

Ponnappa, however, disagreed that she and Sindhu didn't gel well together and instead took the blame for the defeat. "Playing the doubles rubber with Sindhu was good, but I think I should have come to the net a bit more because towards the end, whenever I came to the net, we won points. Maybe, if I had come to the net often at the start, that would have rattled the Japanese and things would have been different for us in the end," she said after the defeat. "The Japanese girls had prepared well for us. Their defence was really good. We must strengthen our defence," she added.

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