Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra achieve unique record with Japan Open semi-final finish
India’s No. 1 mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra may have bowed out in a tough 21-14, 15-21, 19-21 loss to the Japanese qualifying team of Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hirota in the semi-finals of the $325, 000 Japan Open Superseries on Saturday but not before making a couple of landmark achievements for Indian doubles badminton.
This was the first time that the 19th ranked Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra reached the semi-finals of any Superseries tournament which does not happen often for an Indian doubles pair. Not only that, the duo even managed to outshine India’s singles badminton as none of the Indian singles exponents reached the semi-finals.
This was only the third time that any mixed doubles pair from the country made it to at least the semi-finals in any tournament that has the category of a Superseries event or above. The previous two occasions were at the 2009 BWF Super Series Masters Finals and the 2011 China Masters Super Series.
Interestingly, all these three times singles players exited the tournament before the mixed doubles pair did.
Gutta and Diju did it twice
It was India’s marquee mixed doubles combine of Jwala Gutta and V Diju, who kept the Indian Tricolour flying high at both the 2009 Super Series Masters Finals and the 2011 China Masters Super Series events.
In 2009, Gutta and Diju reached the final of the prestigious year-ending tournament where they succumbed to a 14-21, 18-21 defeat to the illustrious Danish duo of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.
Saina Nehwal was the only other Indian to have qualified for the tournament but she lost in the semi-finals.
Diju and Gutta again put mixed doubles in the spotlight two years later when they made it to the semi-finals of the China Masters where they were stopped by the Korean pair of Yoo Yeon-seong and Chang Ye-na, 21-6, 19-21, 19-21.
That tournament saw all of Saina Nehwal, Aditi Mutatkar, Arundhati Pantawane, PC Thulasi, Parupalli Kashyap, Anand Pawar, RMV Gurusaidutt departing before the semi-finals.
Six years later, the reigning Syed Modi International champions Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra emulated that feat with their Japan Open semi-final appearance as Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Srikanth Kidambi, HS Prannoy, Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, Sourabh Verma and Parupalli Kashyap suffered pre-semi-final losses.