All England Open 2019: Saina and Srikanth sail into the quarterfinals, Sai Praneeth bows out
The second day of the much-awaited All England Open witnessed interesting action after a disappointing first day for the Indian contingent.
With only three shuttlers representing India making their way into the second round, all hopes were pinned on their shoulders. Commonwealth Games gold medalist and eighth seed Saina Nehwal, seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth and Singapore Super Series 2017 winner B. Sai Praneeth had made it through to the second round of the coveted tournament in the hopes of bringing home the elusive title after almost two decades.
Both Saina and Srikanth were made to go the length in their respective matches today. Nehwal clashed with Denmark's Line Kjaersfeldt who put the ace Indian shuttler in troubled waters from the get-go.
The first game was stolen from Nehwal but she managed to find her flair and touch in the second game to curb the progress of Kjaersfeldt. Nehwal dominated from then on as she ousted her Danish challenger 8-21, 21-16, 21-13 in under an hour.
With this victory, the former World Number 1 has now sailed into the quarterfinals of the tournament and will face the winner of the match between Tai Tzu Ying and Beiwen Zhang.
Kidambi Srikanth was also involved in a tough battle. Going up against Indonesia's Jonatan Christie, Srikanth imposed his dominance early on in the first game which he took easily but halfway into the second, his attention wandered a little and Christie cashed in on the opportunity.
The Indonesian took the second game quite convincingly before Srikanth decided to knuckle down in the final game. Eventually, the Indian prevailed after a grueling 58 minute encounter. Srikanth overcame Christie's challenge 21-17, 11-21, 21-12. The seventh seed will now face the imposing Kento Momota in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Long Angus disrupted the rhythm of the 26-year-old Praneeth who failed to find his footing in the match. He went down fighting in just 35 minutes in what was a straight-game defeat.
The quarterfinals promise much more excitement for Indian fans, with both Saina and Srikanth having secured their respective spots. There is still hope remaining for that elusive All England Open trophy to travel home after a long 18-year drought.