The Syed Modi International Badminton Championships at Lucknow received a major blow on Thursday as Indian star PV Sindhu was knocked out in the second round. But there was good news from the other quarters as the men’s singles top seed Kidambi Srikanth and the defending champion Parupalli Kashyap both entered the quarter-finals.
The biggest show-stealer on Thursday, however, was the 19-year-old Harsheel Dani in men’s singles and the men’s doubles duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar, both of whom caused huge upsets to make it through to the last-eight. Also advancing to the quarter-finals is India’s premier women’s doubles combine of Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa.
Third-seeded PV Sindhu’s defeat, especially, was disappointing given that she had come into this tournament on the back of winning the Malaysian Masters title last Sunday. The 20-year-old gave a tough fight but came up short in the end as the World No. 27 Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand emerged victorious, 18-21, 26-24, 21-17 in 1 hour 28 minutes.
With Sindhu’s loss, the women’s singles draw now has no Indian left as the top seed and defending champion Saina Nehwal had withdrawn before the start of the event, citing fever.
Kashyap, Srikanth advance
Men’s singles defending champion Parupalli Kashyap had no problems in swatting aside the 148th ranked Zhu Siyuan of China, 21-19, 21-10. The player he beat in last year’s final – Kidambi Srikanth – was equally impressive as he cruised to a 21-9, 21-12 victory over Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in 32 minutes.
Both face unseeded opponents in the quarter-finals and are expected to come through. While Srikanth meets Goh Soon Huat of Malaysia, Kashyap faces Huang Yuxiang of China.
The third Indian to reach the last-eight was the 178th ranked Harsheel Dani. The 19-year-old Dani had toppled the 15th seeded B Sai Praneeth in the second round on Wednesday. He carried on from there to claim another big scalp on Thursday as he stunned the seventh seeded Lee Dong Keun, 21-15, 21-10 in 39 minutes.
Lee is ranked 22nd in the world and this huge win should give the youngster tremendous amounts of confidence as he sets his eyes on the higher echelons of the sport. Up next for him is fellow 19-year-old Shi Yuqi of China.
India’s men’s doubles hopes were kept alive by the 36th ranked Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar who sent off the 10th ranked Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi of Indonesia, 21-13, 21-14. The road, however, gets tougher for them as they next take on the third seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen/ Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark.
In women’s doubles, the 2011 World Championships bronze medallists Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa thrashed compatriots Ningshi Block Hazarika/Harika Veludurthi, 21-9, 21-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with the unseeded Thai duo of Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai.Published 28 Jan 2016, 22:43 IST