Experienced campaigners HS Prannoy and women’s doubles pair Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy entered the pre-quarterfinals of the BWF World Badminton Championships on Wednesday.
HS Prannoy notched up a brilliant straight-game win over Daren Liew of Malaysia to continue his impressive run in Huelva, Spain.
Proving a point or two to his detractors, Prannoy steamrolled Daren Liew 21-7, 21-17 to clinch a place in the last 16. World No. 32 Prannoy got off to a flying start and wrapped up the first game in no time. After leading 8-5, the former national champion bagged eight successive points to race to 16-5 before pocketing it easily.
29-year-old Prannoy faced stiff resistance in the second but the Indian was always in control of the proceedings against the Malaysian, ranked 36 in the world.
Both Prannoy and Liew were leveled at 6-6. Thereafter, Prannoy changed gears and zoomed to 16-11 with a solid attacking game. Although the Malaysian star reduced the deficit, Prannoy was in no mood to let go of the advantage.
A former top-10 in the world, Prannoy needed 42 minutes to continue his impressive run in the prestigious tournament.
Prannoy completes hat-trick of wins against Daren Liew
It was the third straight win for Prannoy over Liew. With this victory, Kerala’s Prannoy improved his head-to-head record to 6-3. Prannoy had beaten the Malaysian last month at the Indonesia Masters.
Prannoy will play Rasmus Gemke of Denmark for a place in the quarters on Thursday. The world No. 10 thumped Luis Enrique Penalver of Spain in the third round. Prannoy has lost both matches to the young Dane so far.
Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy upset 14th seed Chinese pair
Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy also reached the pre-quarterfinals after a hard-fought 21-11, 9-21, 21-13 victory over Liu Xuan Xuan and Xia Yu Ting. The Indian women’s doubles pair took 51 minutes to upset fourteenth seed Liu Xuan and Xia Yu of China in the second round.
World No. 21 Ashwini and Sikki will face sixth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand on Thursday.
In the only reversal of the day for the Indian camp, the men’s doubles duo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila crashed out of the competition. The young Indian pair went down to 11th seeded Russian pair Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov 11-21, 16-21 in 41 minutes.
Indian Results (Round 3)
HS Prannoy bt Daren Liew (Malaysia) 21-7, 21-17 (42 minutes)
MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila lost to 11-Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Russia) 11-21, 16-21 (41 minutes)
Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy bt 14-Liu Xuan Xuan-Xia Yu Ting (China) 21-11, 9-21, 21-13 (51 minutes).
Indian players in action on Thursday (Pre-quarterfinals)
12-Kidambi Srikanth vs Lu Guang Zu (China)
HS Prannoy vs 11-Rasmus Gemke (Denmark)
Lakshya Sen vs Kevin Cordon (Guatemala)
6-PV Sindhu vs 9-Pornpawee Chochuwong (Thailand)
8-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs 9-Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Malaysia)
Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy vs 6-Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Thailand).