16-year-old P. V. Sindhu (pictured right) was unable to hold onto the leads she had in either of her games against former Korean champion Hwang Hye Youn.
Hwang’s comeback was especially severe in the second game, where, after trailing 4-11 at the interval, she raced to the finish, allowing the Yonex Dutch Open runner-up only three more points before she finished it off 21-19, 21-14.
“I think my stamina has decreased compared to what it was before,” said Hwang Hye Youn after her match, “but I am more relaxed when I play and I think I can control the match better than I used to.
“Perhaps this is something else that has come with age,” she added, smiling.
“When I got behind in the second game, I just realized that I was clearing too much and giving away the points so I told myself to prepare faster and just concentrate on gradually eating away at the lead.
“Sindhu is very tall so she can reach so many high shuttles. She is also very fast.”
Hwang Hye Youn (pictured left) is much farther out of the Olympic qualification zone now than in 2008, when she narrowly missed what would be her best chance. In late 2009, a foot injury sidelined her and seemingly permanently removed her from Korea’s first string.
“For the rest of my playing career, missing out on the Olympics will likely haunt me but it is past me now. As for goals, that’s difficult but I will try my best in each tournament I play in.”
The first Indian to go down on opening day in Seoul was actually the last to see international court action. Yonex-Sunrise Syed Modi Memorial India Open Grand Prix Gold runner-up Sourabh Varma (pictured right) fell in three to Malaysia’s Daren Liew. He was followed closely after by compatriot R. M. V. Gurusaidutt.
The closest Indian to making the main draw was veteran Anand Pawar. He fought hard with Korea’s Park Sung Min before the 21-year-old - who was one of three Korean singles players promoted from the reserve list yesterday - finished it off 21-18, 22-24, 21-18 to proceed to the main draw, where he will face fellow qualifier Ashton Chen of Singapore.
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