Thailand Open 2019: Saina, Srikanth crash out; Sai Praneeth enters quarter-finals
Japan Open semi-finalist Sai Praneeth remains the last Indian standing as both Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth crashed out on a disappointing day for the Indian contingent at the Thailand Open in Bangkok on Thursday.
Even as HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap exited this Super 500 event, it was doubles that brought joy when Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stunned the sixth seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto.
Saina Nehwal had never lost to Sayaka Takahashi in four meetings prior to this second round clash and was expected to pull through. However, a good start by the seventh seed was rendered futile when the Japanese made a strong comeback to register a 16-21, 21-11, 21-14 win in 48 minutes.
Srikanth's struggles were evident once again in his 63-minute encounter with World No. World No.32 Khosit Phetpradab. The Thai had lost to the Indian at the Malaysia Open without being able to win a single game. But this time it was the fifth-seeded Indian who failed to stop Phetpradab from carving out an 11-21, 21-16, 21-12 win.
Sai Praneeth maintained his form from last week to stave off a stiff resistance from compatriot Subhankar Dey for a 21-18, 21-19 win. Up next for him is seventh seed Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan for a place in the semi-finals.
HS Prannoy too bowed out of the tournament following a 17-21,10-21 loss to sixth seed Kenta Nishimoto. Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap was outplayed 9-21, 14-21 by third seed Chou Tien Chen.
Doubles teams shine
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had double delight on Day 3 of this tournament after notching up wins in both men's doubles and mixed doubles.
It was the men's doubles win that became the biggest talking point of India's performance. Rankireddy and Shetty did not even drop a game in their huge 21-17, 21-19 win over the World No. 7 pair of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto.
Satwik later teamed up with Ashwini Ponnappa to secure a 21-18, 21-19 win over Indonesians Alfian Eko Prasetya and Marsheilla Gischa Islami. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy were, however, beaten 16-21, 11-21 by eighth seeds Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.