(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Ksenia Polikarpova backs home favourite Akane Yamaguchi
Date: 7/25/2021 1:38 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
Ksenia Polikarpova could not emulate her fellow Israeli Misha Zilberman, as she lost to the reigning world champion Pusarla V. Sindhu. 

Notably, Zilberman had upset another higher-ranked Indian player Sai Praneeth in two straight games yesterday. 

The Israeli number one got some quick points early on.

-Even though my opponent was lower ranked, I didn't want to assume it would be easy. It is important to be focused. I made sure we had some rallies and I got used to the court, Sindhu explained.

-For me it was more about my game, and how I could bring it today. Something is coming, something is not, but in general I’m happy with my match, Polikarpova said. 

However, once Sindhu settled in her opening match in Tokyo, it was a one way affair. She won 21-7, 21-10 in 29 minutes. Later, the Indian star explained that this match was important to get used to the conditions. 

It's important to make sure you play all your strokes and get used to them on the court, because you can't play them all of a sudden against a stronger opponent, you can't do that. It's important to know that your strokes are going well. 

Each match is important, and it's one match at a time. I'm thinking about my next opponent Cheung Ngan Yi, she further added. 

Polikarpova picks her favourite
In the post match interview, Polikarpova hinted her favouritism towards Akane Yamaguchi. Going by the seedings, the Japanese is expected to face Sindhu in a much anticipated quarterfinal clash. She also talked about the other top players as well. 

-If you are talking about the skills, it is Ratchanok Intanon and Nozomi Okuhara. However, I really enjoy Akane Yamaguchi because badminton is like her second nature and she just enjoys it. She’s coming for the medals too.

Okuhara's wait is over
Another women’s singles match featured the other 2019 World Championships finalist, the home favourite Nozomi Okuhara. The pressure showed as the number three seed took almost the entire first game to get going against Yvonne Li. 

-I have been waiting for the Olympics, but the situation is different this time. As there is no audience in the hall. I felt a bit different and it took me time to get used to it, that's why I lost many points in the beginning, Okuhara explained. 

-I had a good start and she was very nervous, you could feel it, Li agreed. 

The German led 9-2 in the first game, but the Japanese star gradually closed down the gap to level at 16-16. 

-I tried to keep it up, but I lost a little bit of pace towards the end of the first game, and she was able to get back into it, she added.

Okuhara dominated the proceedings thereafter as she quickly wrapped up the second game as well. The final scoreline read: 21-17, 21-4. Li acknowledged that she was not able to fight back. 

-Okuhara just rode on from the first one. She took off and never looked back. She was playing on a higher level in the second game, and had a little bit of luck too.

-I would like to get a good result here because a lot of people are supporting me and I feel I can make them happy if I do well. I'm aiming to win the gold, Okuhara concluded. 
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