Korea Open: PV Sindhu wins, Sameer Verma upsets eighth seed
The second day of the $600,000 Victor Korea Open Superseries brought mixed fortunes for the Indian contingent with PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma and B Sai Praneeth advancing but HS Prannoy and Sourabh Verma falling by the way side in Seoul on Wednesday. The young men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty was the only Indian doubles team to win as the men’s doubles combine of Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy, the women’s doubles duo of Ashwini Ponnappa/Sikki Reddy and the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa all crashed out.
PV Sindhu made a thunderous start to her Korea Open campaign. World No. 17 Cheung Ngan Yi had snatched a game off the Indian in their last showdown at the World Championships in August but this time there was no such repeat as the fifth seed pummelled the Hong Kong shuttler for a 21-13, 21-8 win.
She next meets the 16th ranked Nitchaon Jindapol for a place in the quarters.
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who has qualified for this tournament, set up a blockbuster clash with the top seed and World No. 1 Son Wan Ho after comfortably defeating the 28th ranked Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei, 21-13, 21-16.
World No. 17 Sai Praneeth was equally comfortable in his opening round match and dismissed the challenge of the 29th ranked Hu Yun, 21-15, 21-10 in just 28 minutes. He will come up against the seventh seed and World No. 12 Tzu Wei Wang in his next match.
Sameer Verma causes big upset
However, the biggest news of the day came through Sameer Verma’s performance. The 26th-ranked Verma dropped a very tight second game only to cruise through the decider to a 21-13, 21-23, 21-9 upset victory over the eighth seed and World No. 13 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand in a 54-minute battle.
Next up for the Syed Modi International champion is the World No. 14 Wong Wing ki Vincent.
Sameer’s elder brother Sourabh, however, did not have the same luck and made the exit after a gruelling fight. The 32nd ranked Sourabh fought for 1 hour 3 minutes but he eventually went down 21-18, 13-21, 19-21 to the 60th ranked Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.
HS Prannoy too had to bite the dust in his first match since the New Zealand Open one month ago. The US Open champion succumbed to a 17-21, 23-21, 14-21 defeat to the sixth seed NG Ka Long Angus in 1 hour 4 minutes.
In men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty conceded a gritty second game only to storm back for a 21-9, 22-24, 21-12 win over the Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Sheng Mu and Lin Chia Yu. They have a tough task up next as they face the seventh seeds Lee Jhe-Huei and Lee Yang.
Shock loss for Ponnappa and Reddy
The World No. 24 women’s doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa could not do justice to their higher ranking and went down 21-19, 13-21, 17-21 to the 138th ranked Malaysian pair of Fie Cho Soong and Jing Yi Tee.
In mixed doubles, qualifiers Ponnappa and Rankireddy lost 18-21, 19-21 to the Hong Kong pair of Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.