PV Sindhu, B. Sai Praneeth and doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered the Indonesian Open quarterfinals in Bali on Thursday.
Kidambi Srikanth did not have such luck though. He suffered yet another defeat from reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen despite leading in the second game.
World No. 16 Sai Praneeth edged past 19-year-old Christo Popov of France 21-17, 14-21, 21-19 in the men’s singles second round clash. The marathon match lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
It was a much-needed win for Sai Praneeth, who has been really struggling to find his form since the Tokyo Olympics.
French teenager Popov gave a big scare to experienced Indian Sai Praneeth before going down fighting by a wafer-thin margin. After both Sai Praneeth and Popov shared the first two games, there was a grueling battle between both the players in the deciding game.
Finally, Sai Praneeth managed to reel off three consecutive points to seal the fate of the promising French teenager. World No. 70 Popov was leading 19-18 in the decider but perhaps the lack of experience playing at the big stage hampered his concentration.
Sai Praneeth kept his composure in the crucial moments towards the end of the match to book his place in the last-eight after a long time.
Sai Praneeth will face his nemesis Viktor Axelsen in quarters
Sai Praneeth will have a daunting task ahead as the Indian shuttler runs into second seed Viktor Axelsen for a spot in the semifinals on Friday. Sai Praneeth has never beaten world No. 2 Axelsen during their four matches so far.
Axelsen was the gold medalist of the Tokyo Olympics. He has been in smashing form this season and dismissed Kidambi Srikanth 21-14, 21-18 in 37 minutes on Thursday.
After losing the first game, world No. 14 Srikanth was leading by a couple of points in the second game but could not hang on to his lead. The tall Dane recorded fifth successive win over Srikanth and eighth overall during their 11-match rivalry on the international circuit.
Sindhu makes light work of Gemany’s Yvonee Li
Tokyo Olympic bronze medal winner Sindhu had no problem ousting Yvonne Li of Germany 21-12, 21-18. World No. 7 Sindhu took just 37 minutes to dismiss 23-year-old German player in their first ever meeting.
World No. 26 Yvonne of Germany tried hard to make a comeback in the second game but Sindhu foiled her bid with a commanding performance.
26-year-old Sindhu will square off against Sim Yujin of Korea in the quarters on Friday. It will be Sindhu’s first meeting with world No. 54.
22-year-old Sim Yujin shocked sixth seed Michelle Li of Canada 21-11, 21-9 in the first round on Tuesday.
Satwik-Chirag survives big scare from unheralded Koreans
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty survived a big scare before pulling out a tough win over the unheralded Koreans. Sixth seed Satwik and Chirag squeezed past Kang Minhyuk and Seo Seungjae of Korea 21-15, 19-21, 23-21 in a marathon battle which lasted 75 minutes.
The ace Indian doubles pair managed to save two match points before clinching an extended third game 23-21 in their favor. It was the first time Satwik and Chirag faced Koreans, ranked 422 in the world.
Satwik and Chirag will cross swords with Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin of Malaysia for a spot in the last four on Friday.
World No. 11 Satwik and Chirag have a 4-1 head-to-head record against Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin. But the Malaysians won their last encounter against the Indians last month at the Denmark Open in three games.
Indian Results (Round 2)
B Sai Praneeth bt Christo Popov (France) 21-17, 14-21, 21-19 (83 minutes)
Kidambi Srikanth lost to Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) 14-21, 18-21 (37 minutes)
3-PV Sindhu bt Yvonne Li (Germany) 21-12, 21-18 (37 minutes)
6-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Kang Minhyuk-Seo Seungjae (Korea) 21-15, 19-21, 23-21 (75 minutes)
B Sai Praneeth vs 2-Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
3-PV Sindhu vs Sim Yujin (Korea)
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6-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin (Malaysia).