Kidambi Srikanth advances; Parupalli Kashyap exits Syed Modi International
On a day of mixed fortunes for India, top seed Kidambi Srikanth remains the last Indian standing in men’s singles as he entered the semi-finals of the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships in Lucknow on Friday. But it was the end of the road for the defending champion Parupalli Kashyap and the 19-year-old Harsheel Dani, both of whom were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
The Indian doubles teams, meanwhile, brought the smiles back to the home fans as both Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa progressed to the semi-finals.
Srikanth had to work hard before he could eke out a 21-17, 18-21, 24-22 win over the 53rd ranked Goh Soon Huat of Malaysia in 1 hour 16 minutes. The World No. 9 was the runner-up last year and would look to go one better this time.
He next faces the 11th seeded Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand for a place in Sunday’s final. Srikanth is 2-1 against the 28th ranked player and met him as recently as last week at the Malaysia Masters.
Defending men’s singles champion Parupalli Kashyap was the biggest Indian name to fall on Friday. After losing the opening game 16-21 to the 73rd ranked Chinese Huang Yuxiang, he came back strongly to pocket the second game 21-18. But the Chinese proved too strong in the end as he emerged victorious, 21-16, 18-21, 21-15 in 1 hour 9 minutes.
Rising star Harsheel Dani, who had been on a giant-killing run at this tournament, finally ran out of steam against the unseeded Shi Yuqi of China and bowed out 14-21, 11-21 in 32 minutes. Dani had earlier beaten the seventh-seeded Lee Dong Keun and the 15th seeded B Sai Praneeth.
In men’s doubles, Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar stole the show once again by upsetting the third seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen/ Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark. A day after toppling the fifth seeds, the Indian pair held their nerves in a nail-biting encounter to edge past the eighth-ranked Danes, 22-20, 11-21, 23-21.
Up next for them is the second-seeded Korean team of Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang.
The sixth-seeded women’s doubles duo of Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa too put up a fantastic display to prevail over the unseeded Thai pair of Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, 23-21, 21-17. They have their task cut out in the semis as they face the second seeds Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan of Korea.