World No.1 archer Deepika Kumari survived some anxious moments on Wednesday before getting past US teen Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez 6-4 to reach the pre-quarters of the women’s individual section and keep hopes alive for more Indian medals, after Mirabai Chanu’s weightlifting silver, at the Tokyo Olympics.
On a day her teammates Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav made second-round exits, Deepika seemed to feel the pressure initially as she started off hitting the red-zone, capping a poor seven at the floodlit Yumenoshima Park.
She lost the first set by one point but bounced back strongly with three 10s in a row to take a 4-2 lead. She, however, failed to wrap up the match in the fourth set as she misfired a six in her second arrow. The 18-year-old American made it 4-4, winning the set by one-point (25-24). In the winner-takes-all fifth set, Deepika had two 9s to start with before finishing with a poor 8. Needing a 10 in her last arrow to force a shoot-off, Jennifer signed off with a nine in what was a promising campaign for her.
Deepika’s next game is on Friday.
Deepika’s husband Atanu Das is the only other Indian left in the fray. The India No.1, who slipped to 35th place in the ranking, begins his campaign against Deng Yu-Cheng of Taiwan in his opening round of 64 match on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Deepika cruised into the second round with a facile 6-0 win over lower-ranked Karma of Bhutan in her opening match. World No.193 Karma, the flag-bearer of Bhutan — a country where archery is the national sport — during the opening ceremony, had poor scores of 23, 23 and 24 in the third set where she managed a 10.
Jadhav, Rai exit
Olympic debutant Jadhav defeated world No.2 Galsan Bazarzhapov in his opening match only to suffer a heavy defeat to world champion Brady Ellison in the second round.
The 25-year-old was at his best in his first-round match, but could not continue his impressive form and fell to Ellison, the American world No.1.
Ellison too was ordinary, especially in the second and third sets where he misfired in the red rings with two 8s, but Jadhav was miserable and hit two 7s and 8s in four arrows to join his senior army colleague Tarundeep Rai in making a second round exit.
Rai went down to Itay Shanny of Israel in a tight shoot-off finish for a heartbreaking exit in his swansong Olympics.
India Watch: Thursday
Rowing — Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls Final B (5.20am)
Golf — Men’s Individual Stroke Play Round 1 (5.22am)
Shooting — Women’s 25m pistol qualification (5.30am)
Hockey — Men’s Pool A, vs Argentina (6am)
Badminton — Women’s singles round of 16 (6.15am)
Archery — Men’s individual 1/32 eliminations (7.31am)
Golf — Men’s Individual Stroke Play Round 1 (7.39am)
Archery — Men’s individual 1/16 eliminations (8.10am, subject to qualification)
Sailing — Men’s one person dinghy laser, race 7 & 8 (8.35am)
Sailing — Men’s 49er, race 5 & 6 (8.35am)
Sailing — Women’s one person dinghy laser radial, race 7 & 8 (8.45am)
Boxing — Men’s 91kg round of 16 (8.48am)
Boxing — Women’s 51kg Round of 16 (3.36pm)
Swimming — Men’s 100m butterfly, heat 2 (4.16pm)
All timings in IST