All England Open 2017: Blazing start for PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal; HS Prannoy notches comeback win
Sindhu defeated Denmark's Mette Poulsen, while Saina Nehwal won her match against Nozomi Okuhara.
India’s top two shuttle queens made it a memorable International Women’s Day by racing into the second round of the 2017 All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham on Wednesday. Both hardly broke a sweat but the men had a disastrous campaign with just one – World No. 21 HS Prannoy – making it to Round 2 of the season’s first Superseries Premier event.
Sixth seed PV Sindhu needed only 29 minutes to thrash the 33rd ranked Mette Poulsen of Denmark, 21-10, 21-11. Eighth seed and 2015 runner-up Saina Nehwal soon joined her in the second round by putting up a commanding 21-15, 21-14 victory over the defending champion and World No. 11 Nozomi Okuhara in a match that lasted 38 minutes.
Both Saina and Sindhu thus remain on course for a blockbuster collision in the semi-finals. They need two more wins each to set up that clash that every Indian badminton fan is waiting for.
HS Prannoy survived the carnage and remained the only Indian men’s singles exponent to make it to the second round as both Ajay Jayaram and Kidambi Srikanth fell. The Swiss Open champion showed some stunning resilience to notch up a comeback 17-21, 22-20, 21-19 win over the World No. 24 Qiao Bin of China.
Prannoy was trailing 16-19 and was two points away from defeat from where he turned around the match brilliantly for the win in 1 hour 22 minutes.
Srikanth goes down to World No. 53
Former World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth suffered a disappointing exit at the hands of the World No. 53 Zhao Junpeng. Srikanth, currently ranked 29th, took the middle game but ran out of steam in the decider to lose 19-21, 21-19, 12-21 in 57 minutes.
Ajay Jayaram could not provide any resistance and succumbed to a 19-21, 13-21 defeat to Huang Yuxiang of China.
In a late night match, the World No. 13 mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy was beaten 19-21, 20-22 in a tight two-game opener by the formidable Korean duo of Yoo Yeon Seong and Kim Ha Na.
In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy were edged 19-21, 21-10, 18-21 by the English combine of Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden. It was a similar fate for the Indian women’s doubles team of Meghana Jakkkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram. They lost 19-21, 12-21 to Hsu Ya Ching and Wu Ti Jung of Chinese Taipei.