Syed Modi International 2018: Saina Nehwal, Sameer Verma and Parupalli Kashyap enter quarter-finals
Former Syed Modi International champions had a successful day at this Super 300 tournament on Thursday as all three of Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sameer Verma entered the quarter-finals.
Two-time winner Nehwal needed only 25 minutes to prevail over her compatriot Amolika Singh Sisodiya 21-14, 21-9 to set up a quarter-final clash with eighth seed Rituparna Das. The latter accounted for Shruti Mundada 21-11, 21-15.
Third seed and defending men’s singles champion Sameer Verma staved off a tough challenge from China’s Zhao Junpeng to register a 22-20, 21-17 win in 39 minutes. Up next for him is World No. 64 Zhou Zeqi of China.
2012 and 2015 men’s singles champion Parupalli Kashyap had to work extra hard to grab a berth in the quarter-finals. The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist is making his way back to the top echelons of the sport after suffering a back injury at the Singapore Open in July.
Kashyap was thoroughly outplayed by Indonesia’s World No. 57 Firman Abdul Kholik in the opener but he battled back to secure a 9-21, 22-20, 21-8 win in 57 minutes. The 32-year-old next faces the eighth seed Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand for a place in the semi-finals.
Fourth seed and last year’s runner-up B Sai Praneeth also made it to the last-eight stage, courtesy of a 21-12, 21-10 win over Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. He meets the sixth seed Lu Guangzu of China next.
Apart from Nehwal, there was another Indian who advanced to the quarters in women’s singles. Rising star Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka beat Reshma Karthik 21-12, 21-15 to set up a showdown with 2012 Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui.
Men’s doubles eighth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty remain India’s only hope in that section as they made it to the quarter-finals as well.
Commonwealth Games women's doubles bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy too have kept their title aspirations alive with a smooth 21-14, 21-13 win over Preethi Konadam and Priya Konjengbam. Kuhoo Garg and Ningshi Block Hazarika too progressed into the last-eight via a walkover.
In mixed doubles, World Championships quarter-finalists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa as well as the pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Pooja Dandu entered the quarters.