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