India Open 2018: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu reach quarter-finals; Kidambi Srikanth crashes out
On a day of mixed fortunes for India’s top shuttlers, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu progressed into the quarter-finals of the $350,000 Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open 2018, but 2015 champion Kidambi Srikanth crashed out of this BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament held in New Delhi.
The World No. 3, who has just recovered from an abdominal muscle strain, failed to keep his errors at bay and slumped to a shock 19-21, 17-21 loss to the World No. 85 Iskandar Zulkarnain of Malaysia. The India No. 1 shuttler saved three game points in the first game before losing in 43 minutes.
Two-time champion Saina Nehwal had absolutely no problem against Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark, whom she took 35 minutes to beat 21-12, 21-11. Nehwal is looking to reach the final of a Super 500 tournament for the second week in a row after finishing as the runner-up at the Indonesia Masters last Sunday.
Defending champion PV Sindhu was too powerful for the 40th ranked Linda Zetchiri. The World No. 3 staved off some stiff resistance from the Bulgarian in the early part of the second game to register a 21-10, 21-14 win.
Sindhu will next meet the eighth seeded Beatriz Corrales, who beat Tata Open champion Ruthvika Shivani Gadde 21-19, 21-16. Nehwal will take on the fifth seeded Beiwen Zhang.
Sameer, Sai, Kashyap win
Srikanth could not make it through to the last-eight, but three other Indian men’s singles players did. A day after upsetting the seventh seed Anders Antonsen, Syed Modi International champion Sameer Verma showed tremendous grit and resilience to oust former World No. 3 Tommy Sugiarto 21-18, 19-21, 21-17.
Eighth seeded B Sai Praneeth convincingly beat Hu Yun 21-10, 21-15 while Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap came back from the brink of defeat to edge qualifier Shreyansh Jaiswal 19-21, 21-19, 21-12 in a 1 hour 4 minute marathon.
Rankireddy and Ponnappa upset third seeds
Indian national mixed doubles champions Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy sent the crowd into raptures as they stunned the third seeds Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing 21-16, 15-21, 23-21. The duo squandered their first four match points before they could finally convert on their fifth to get the win in 1 hour 9 minutes.
Rankireddy had to taste a narrow defeat in men’s doubles, however. He and Chirag Shetty, who reached the Indonesia Masters semi-finals, went down fighting 21-13, 18-21, 20-22 to the Chinese combine of Chai Biao and Wang Zekang.
Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy easily beat Indian qualifiers Tushar Sharma and Chandrabhusan Tripathi 21-11, 21-15 to become the only Indian team to reach the men’s doubles quarter-finals.
Sikki Reddy had double delight on Thursday. She teamed up with Pranaav Jerry Chopra for a 21-10, 21-19 win over Yogendran Krishnan and Prajakta Sawant in mixed doubles. She then outclassed the pair of Megha Morchana Bora and Sanghamitra Saikia 21-9, 21-2 in partnership with Ponnappa in women’s doubles.
Seventh seeds Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram also joined them in the women’s doubles quarter-finals with a 21-12, 21-18 win over Rutaparna Panda and Mithula UK.