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Hong Kong Open round-up: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram and Sameer Verma reach quarters

FEATURED COLUMNIST
5.17K   //    24 Nov 2016, 18:06 IST
PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu continues her winning run

It turned out to be a thrilling Thursday for Indian badminton fans with as many as four Indians reaching the quarter-finals of the 2016 Hong Kong Open Superseries. China Open champion PV Sindhu is now on a seven-match winning streak after she made short work of the 28th ranked Chinese Taipei shuttler Hsu Ya Ching to win 21-10, 21-14 in just 36 minutes.

She thus joined her compatriot Saina Nehwal in the last-eight stage. The two are now one round away from a much-awaited semi-final face-off.

In men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram and Sameer Verma completed a great day for India with HS Prannoy being the only casualty.

Sindhu sizzles

From start to finish, there was no let-up in intensity from PV Sindhu. Given she had lost her only meeting with the Taipei shuttler last year, this was a very impressive performance from the 21-year-old. 

After coming back from an initial deficit of 1-4, Sindhu was firmly in control throughout the match. At the interval, she was ahead 11-7 and extended the lead to 14-8 soon after. It was a matter of time before the Indian wrapped up the opener, 21-10.

The second game continued in the same fashion. Oozing confidence, the Rio Olympic silver medallist went up 11-7 from a 3-0 start. Even though the persistent Ching managed to level matters at 12-12, Sindhu was able to stop her momentum and clinch the win.

One win away from a possible Saina vs. Sindhu showdown

The Rio silver medallist will now take on World No. 32 Xiaoyu Liang of Singapore for a place in the semi-finals.

Earlier, the fifth-seeded Nehwal fought her way back from a second-set deficit to enter the quarter-finals with a 21-18, 9-21, 21-16 win over the 14th ranked Sayaka Sato. The 2010 champion needs to overcome local hope Cheung Ngan Yi for a possible showdown with Sindhu.

Jayaram, Verma in quarters

In men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram put up a brilliant performance to defeat the 26th ranked Huang Yuxiang. The World No. 19 needed 39 minutes to beat the Chinese, 21-18, 21-19 for his second consecutive quarter-final at a Superseries event.

Sameer Verma too made it to the last-eight stage of a Superseries event for the first time in his career. The World No. 43 eked out a tough 19-21, 21-15, 21-11 win over Japan’s 52nd ranked Kazumasa Sakai.

However, HS Prannoy did not have the luck of the others as he went down fighting, 21-15, 11-21, 15-21 to Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng in 58 minutes.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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