All England Open 2018: PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy reach quarter-finals; Kidambi Srikanth crashes out
As PV Sindhu laboured to yet another three-game win at the All England Open 2018 to reach the quarter-finals, Kidambi Srikanth squandered a couple of match points to crash out of the season’s opening Super 1000 tournament in Birmingham on Thursday. HS Prannoy joined Sindhu in the last-eight as the only other Indian to make it through to the quarter-finals.
The fourth seeded Sindhu had to battle for 1 hour 6 minutes before she could post a 21-13, 13-21, 21-18 win over the 11th ranked Nitchaon Jindapol. Sindhu made a blazing start to the match and absolutely dwarfed her opponent as she stood tall in every aspect of the game.
The complexion of the match soon changed as Jindapol came back invigorated and started using her barrage of attacking shots to take the second game away from Sindhu. The decider turned out to be a thriller where the unseeded Thai had a lead of 16-12 before the Indian levelled the game at 16-16 and staved off her challenge thereafter to close out the tight win.
Next up for Sindhu is the seventh seeded Nozomi Okuhara in a rematch of their epic World Championships final clash.
Having recovered from warts on the feet that derailed him in the early part of the year, HS Prannoy continued his heroics at the world’s oldest badminton tournament for the second day in a row. The Kerala shuttler eked out a tough second game to notch up a 21-10, 21-19 win over the former World No. 3 Tommy Sugiarto.
He next meets the 42nd ranked Huang Yuxiang, who got the better of Srikanth in the second round.
Srikanth slams the umpiring
The World No. 2, who later on called the umpiring ‘ridiculous’, was outplayed by the Chinese in the opening game as he peppered the court with unforced errors and took time to settle into the match. Srikanth then got back to his aggressive best and literally strolled through the second game to set up a decider.
In the third game, the momentum oscillated between the two. Yuxiang began comfortably, building a 5-2 lead after which the Indian evened the score at 7-7. The game continued to be on par until 12-12 when the Chinese accelerated to 15-12, adding three quick points.
Trailing 13-16, Srikanth rained down winners at will to bag five points in a row and go up to 18-16. With two match points in hand at 20-18, the Indian made costly errors at the net, which presented a glimmer of hope for the Chinese.
The determined Yuxiang then forced Srikanth into a couple more errors to complete the 21-11, 15-21, 22-20 upset win in 52 minutes.
Rankireddy and Shetty lose a nail-biter
The top Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty put up a show of guts and gumption and even saved a match point but it was not enough to stop the second seeds and former champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. The Danes eventually pulled off the 21-16, 16-21, 23-21 win in 1 hour 3 minutes.
This was the third meeting between the two pairs and each of them has gone the distance, with Boe and Mogensen winning in the end. Satwik and Chirag were playing at the All England Open for the first time.
Later at night, the mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy was outclassed 6-21, 10-21 by the second seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping.