PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma kept the Indian challenge alive at the Victor Denmark Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament in Odense on Thursday.
Fourth seed Sindhu survived a scare to reach the women’s singles quarter-finals. Sameer Verma shocked third seed and local star Anders Antonsen in the men's singles second round. However, the rest of the Indian players failed to live up to expectations.
In the last match of the third day, Sameer Verma stunned third seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-14, 21-18 in 50 minutes.
Unseeded Sameer Verma converted his third match point to record the upset of the day. World No. 28 Sameer dominated the first game but got stiff resistance from the world No. 3 Anders Antonsen in the second game.
At 20-16, Sameer had four match points but the star Dane saved two match points. However, Sameer kept his nerves to surprise his higher-ranked opponent.
Before Thursday’s match, Denmark star was leading the head-to-head record against Sameer Verma 5-1.
Sameer will clash with Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the quarter-finals on Friday.
The most shocking result for the Indians came late in the evening. Seventh seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty crashed out in the men’s doubles second round. The world No. 10 Indian pair were upset by unseeded Malaysian duo Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin 21-14, 15-21, 15-21 in 55 minutes.
The star doubles pair from India started on a rousing note by capturing the first game quite easily. The way they began, it looked like Satwik-Chirag would maintain their stranglehold over the Malaysians.
However, the Satwik-Chirag pair surprisingly lost their steam as the match progressed. The experienced Malaysians combined well to register their first win against Satwik-Chirag in their fifth encounter.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag had a perfect 4-0 record against Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin before Thursday’s contest.
However, all four wins were close and came in the deciding games against the Malaysians. World No. 26 Malaysians turned the tables on their Indian rivals to seal their spot in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
PV Sindhu struggles to reach last eight
Sindhu recorded a hard-fought victory over Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the women’s singles second round.
World No. 7 Sindhu needed an hour and seven minutes to overcome the stiff challenge from world No. 13 Busanan of Thailand. Sindhu was stretched to the limit by Thai opponent before posting a 21-16, 12-21, 21-15 win in her last-16 match.
Sindhu opened up brilliantly to race to an 11-2 lead. Thereafter she struggled in the rallies but managed to claim the opening game 21-16.
In the second game, Busanan led from start to finish, giving the tall Indian player no chance whatsoever. Sindhu committed some unforced errors which helped the Thai player wrap up the second game 21-12.
The decider was a tense affair, with both players giving their best at each rally. 26-year-old Sindhu opened up a four-point lead and maintained it to seal victory at 21-15. Sindhu played the third game very positively and aggressively.
Sindhu had lost to Busanan only once in their 13 meetings, which was at the Hong Kong Open in 2019.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Sindhu will lock horns with South Korea’s AN Seyoung, the current world No. 8, for a spot in the semi-finals on Friday.
Kidambi Srikanth fails to utilize flying start and loses against Kento Momota
Kidambi Srikanth squandered away a comfortable five-point lead in the first game to lose 21-23, 9-21 against top seed Kento Momota.
In a well-contested men’s singles second round fight, Srikanth started off well but could not maintain a big lead. World No. 1 Momota staged a remarkable recovery and saved three game points to clinch the extended first game 23-21.
The Japanese star then consolidated his position and closed the match in 43 minutes as Srikanth caved in meekly in the second game. This was Srikanth’s 10th straight loss against his nemesis Momota.
Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen ousts Lakshya Sen
Lakshya Sen’s campaign came to an end as the young Indian shuttler lost to second seed Viktor Axelsen 15-21, 7-21. The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist needed 39 minutes to down Lakshya Sen. The home favorite was in control against Lakshya throughout the match.
Indian mixed doubles pair Dhruv Kapila and N Sikki Reddy also failed to make the quarter-finals. The new pair lost 21-17, 19-21, 21-11 against Chun Man Tang and Ying Suet Tse of Hong Kong.
Indian Results (Round 2)
Kidambi Srikanth lost to 1-Kento Momota (Japan) 21-23, 9-21 (43 minutes)
Lakshya Sen lost to 2-Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) 15-21, 7-21 (39 minutes)
Sameer Verma bt 3-Anders Antonsen (Denmark) 21-14, 21-18 (50 minutes)
4-PV Sindhu bt Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand) 21-16, 12-21, 21-15 (67 minutes)
7-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty lost to Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin (Malaysia) 21-14, 15-21, 15-21 (55 minutes)
MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila lost to 4-Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Indonesia) 15-21, 21-17, 12-21 (46 minutes)
Dhruv Kapila-N Sikki Reddy lost to Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong China) 17-21, 21-19, 11-21 (48 minutes).