It has been quite a dramatic day at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium at Lucknow, with the third day of the Syed Modi International Championships being full of action. Top male Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Sourabh Verma were the only saving grace on a day crowded with several losses for the Indian players. The rising star Lakshya Sen and the experienced B. Sai Praneeth faces early second-round losses against their Korean and Thai opponents and bade adieu to the Championships.
The highlight match of the day was definitely the one featuring Kidambi Srikanth, the 2016 Champion against Parupalli Kashyap, who has been a two-time Champion here too. In what was their fourth career meeting, Srikanth looked determined to level their head-to-head record and got the better off Kashyap in three grueling games. The World No. 12 emerged as the better player at 18-21, 22-20, 21-16 and sent Kashyap crashing out of the tournament.
After having won this clash against Kashyap, Srikanth has set up a date with the Korean Son Wan Ho, a former World No. 1 who felled Lakshya Sen in his second-round encounter. Sen, who has been on a career high as he collected titles in Belgian International, Dutch Open, SaarLorLux Open and the recently concluded, Scottish Open, found himself being pushed to the extremes against Son Wan Ho. The Korean former World No. 1 ousted Sen in 21-14, 21-17.
On the other hand, Sourabh Verma who has picked up titles in Hyderabad and Vietnam, showed no mercy to his fellow Indian player Alap Mishra and defeated him 21-11, 21-18. With that, he progressed to the quarter-finals in Lucknow and has the challenge of Kunlavut Vitidsarn on his plate, who pulled off a shocking victory against B. Sai Praneeth, a favoured seed for the Super 300 tournament. Strangely enough, Sai Praneeth, who is the fourth seed at the Syed Modi International Tournament, found himself to be of no match against the young player from Thailand. He fell to Vitidsarn in 21-11, 21-17.
In other disappointing tidings for the day, Ajay Jayaram also suffered a early defeat at the hands of Chinia's Zhao Jun Peng. It was a heart-breaking loss for Jayaram as he gave it his all in the match. But the Chinese was stiff in his defence and Jayaram, despite making amazing comebacks could not get the better off Peng. The Chinese opponent ousted Jayaram 18-21, 21-14, 28-30 and curbed the Indian's efforts from making it to the quarter-finals. Surprisingly, H S Prannoy also had to crash out of the tournament even after putting up a stiff fight against Chinese Taipei's Wei Tzu Wang. Wang got the better of Prannoy in 14-21, 21-10, 21-14.
The star women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also decided to retire once they were lagging behind at 0-2 in the opening game against the English duo of Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith. However, the young women's pair of Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker took down Riya Mookherjee and Anura Prabhudesai in a quick affair of 21-12, 21-15 to make it to the quarters. With that win under their belt, the duo of Singhi and Thaker will go up against German duo of Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich next.
On the men's doubles front too things already look bleak ever since Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty crashed out in the first round. To add to that, the duo of Kapil Chaudhary/ Akhshay Kadam and Siddharth Jakhar/Shubham Yadav also exited. In the mixed doubles, the duo of Sikki Reddy and Praanav Jerry Chopra also could not make it any further in the tournament.
All in all, it wasn't a good day for the Indian shuttlers with just two big victories of the day. All hopes will now lean on Kidambi Srikanth and Sourabh Verma as they advance into the quarters. In an earlier than expected turn of events, things have turned sour for the Indian players. However, all is not yet lost with quite a few strong players remaining in the fray and hoping to progress further in the tournament.