The Indian men’s doubles national champions, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy were left the last Indians standing at the Australian Open 2018 as both Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma crashed out of this Super 300 tournament in Sydney on Friday. Attri and Reddy, seeded third, had to work hard to prevail over their seventh seeded compatriots, MR Arjun and Shlok Ramchandran 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 in a quarter-final battle that lasted 51 minutes.
The former India No. 1 pair now has a tough task ahead of them as they face the top seeded Indonesian combine of Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto. Attri and Reddy have been resurgent for a couple of weeks now after struggling for a few months. Barring the India Open, where they reached the quarter-finals, they failed to cross the first hurdle in five tournaments this year.
Three months after the India Open, they made it to the last-eight at the New Zealand Open last week. This week they made it one better in Sydney as they have now won five of their last six matches.
Premature end to India’s singles campaign
In singles, India’s campaign met with a premature end with both the second seeded Sai and the fourth seeded Sameer being unable to take a game off their respective opponents.
Sai was the best performing Indian at Auckland a week back and looked good enough for the title in Australia. However, his hopes were dashed by a spirited resistance from the seventh seeded Lee Cheuk Yiu, with the latter carving out a 23-21, 21-13 win in 43 minutes.
Verma was a pale shadow of the player, who won the Swiss Open in February. He mightily struggled throughout his encounter with the 165th ranked Lu Guangzu, before surrendering 14-21, 6-21 in just 34 minutes.
Next up for both Sai and Verma is the Thomas and Uber Cup, scheduled to be held in Bangkok from May 20-27.