Australian Open roundup: Srikanth Kidambi the last Indian standing as Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu exit

This was Srikanth’s first win over Sai since 2014
Modified 23 Jun 2017

Indonesia Open champion Srikanth Kidambi remains the last Indian standing at the Crown Group Australian Open Superseries 2017 after both his superstar women counterparts – Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu – crashed out in the quarter-finals in Sydney on Friday.

Srikanth won a blockbuster all-Indian quarter-final over his training partner, B Sai Praneeth, 25-23, 21-17 in 43 minutes. He next meets the fourth seed Shi Yuqi for a place in the final.

This was Srikanth’s first win over Sai since 2014 and his second victory overall over his academy-mate in seven career meetings. With this triumph, the India No. 1 is now on an eight-match winning streak.

Sindhu squanders match point

It was a heartbreaking loss for PV Sindhu on the women’s side, who squandered a match point. Seeded fifth, she began brilliantly against the top seed and World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying and clinched the first game 21-10 with a superb display of aggression.

But the imperious Tai, who had her 27-match winning streak snapped last week, steadily got stronger and stronger and saved a match point at 19-20. The Chinese Taipei ace made the most of her second chance. Rediscovering her finesse and deception, she came back from 10-13 in the decider to level at 13-13.

She then went on a run of her own, playing some stupendous badminton as Sindhu was left with no answer, ultimately wrapping up the 10-21, 22-20, 21-16 win in exactly an hour.

Saina’s title defence ends

Defending champion Saina Nehwal played a fabulous middle game but could not keep the surging sixth seed Sun Yu from coming back to take the match, 21-17, 10-21, 21-17. This is Sun’s first victory over Saina in Australia in four career showdowns and her second win over the Indian overall.


A slow start from Nehwal sent Sun up 7-1. Even though the Indian made a fine comeback after that and led 17-13, she could not close out the game. Unforced errors right at that juncture proved costly as the lanky Chinese roared back into contention and took the opener, 21-17.

Saina was thoroughly in control of the proceedings in the second game. Constantly forcing errors with amazing footwork all over the court, she grabbed a one-sided second game, 21-10.

The decider expectedly turned out to be quite a competitive one and Saina was the first one to break free from the tie and went up 12-9. That, however, could not perturb Sun even as Saina soared to 15-13.

With an injection of pace and aggression into her shots, the Chinese went on a roll. Saina, in contrast, found the going tough with her racquet constantly peppering the court with unforced errors.

Sun pocketed seven points in a row and finished it strongly in 1 hour 18 minutes by winning the longest rally of the match.

Published 23 Jun 2017, 20:05 IST
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