While India’s challenge in singles came to a screeching halt at the Fuzhou China Open 2019 on Thursday, the in-form pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty kept the Indian Tricolour flying high with their stupendous performance. The Indians knocked out the sixth seeds and World No. 6 pair of Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-18, 21-23, 21-11 to storm into the quarter-finals of this Super 750 tournament.
In their quest to reach the semi-finals of the Fuzhou China Open, the World No. 9 pair will take on third seeds Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China. The third-ranked duo just happens to be the same team the Indians beat to take the title at the Thailand Open earlier this year.
The young Indian team is on a roll after putting up some praiseworthy performances all year, which is evidenced by their six top-10 wins this season. Rankireddy and Shetty, who reached the quarter-finals of the Fuzhou China Open for the second consecutive year, have proven they belong in the big leagues.
Since the Indonesia Open in July, they have made four quarter-finals at the Super 500 level or above, with their highlight being their triumph at the Thailand Open, followed by a runner-up finish at the French Open last month.
While Rankireddy soared in men’s doubles, he did not have the same fortune in mixed doubles, where he and Ashwini Ponnappa went down to the fifth seeds Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung, 21-23, 16-21.
In singles, B. Sai Praneeth put in a commendable dispay but ultimately came up short against fourth seed Anders Antonsen in a marathon three-game second-round showdown. Sai was able to edge the Dane in the middle game to stretch the match to a decider, where Antonsen pulled off a 22-20, 20-22, 21-16 win.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap’s campaign also came to an end at the hands of seventh seed and former World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in a 13-21, 19-21 loss.