What's the story?
Apart from finding domestic bliss, the newly-married Pranaav Jerry Chopra continues to rise on the professional front. The Ludhiana shuttler, who recently tied the knot with fellow player Pradnya Gadre, and his mixed doubles partner Sikki Reddy, reached a career-high 15th in the latest BWF Rankings released on Thursday.
Currently, they are the only Indian pair in the top 50 in that particular category.
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Chopra and Reddy had a fabulous second half of 2016, winning the Brazil Grand Prix and Russian Open Grand Prix titles that triggered their big rise up the rankings. Their partnership struck gold immediately and they jumped over 200 spots in one year to reach their present ranking of 15th.
And they are not the only Indian team in mixed doubles doing well on the circuit. Besides them, the young pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and K Maneesha, who have won three titles together in 2016, too soared high. They surged five spots to be placed at 67th.
The heart of the matter
There was some good news for Indian shuttlers in the other categories as well. Pranaav Chopra also rose one spot in men’s doubles to grab the 46th ranking spot alongside Akshay Dewalkar. In contrast, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy slid down to 22nd.
It was the same for Sikki Reddy in women’s doubles. The 23-year-old has joined forces with the highly-experienced Ashwini Ponnappa after the latter’s split with Jwala Gutta. The two now find themselves at 110th as they aim to reach the higher echelons of the sport together.
There was not much change in singles as all Indian shuttlers had wrapped up their season and were busy preparing for the Premier Badminton League (PBL-2), beginning on January 1, 2017. The top shuttle queens of the country – PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal – remain static at 6th and 10th respectively.
20-year-old Rituparna Das is the only women’s singles player who climbed one spot to reach a career-high 63rd. The girl, who hails from Haldia in West Bengal, is the India No. 5 in that discipline after Sindhu, Saina, Tanvi Lad (57th) and Ruthvika Shivani Gadde (59th).
In men’s singles, the top three Indians – Srikanth Kidambi, Ajay Jayaram and HS Prannoy are unchanged at 15th, 19th and 28th respectively.
Each of the next three players improved their rankings by a solitary rung. The Hong Kong Open runner-up Sameer Verma is now 35th while his elder brother Sourabh Verma is 45th. The Canada Open champion B Sai Praneeth is now at 36th.
The rankings prove that it is no more just a Saina and Sindhu show in Indian badminton. The sport, as a whole, has improved by leaps and bounds throughout the season across all disciplines with new stars emerging. The trend shows that even bigger things are waiting in 2017.