World Badminton Championships 2017 Day 2 roundup: PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Ajay Jayaram advance
PV Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram and B Sai Praneeth won their respective first round matches to keep India’s flawless record for singles shuttlers intact at the 2017 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday. Sikki Reddy, meanwhile, had double delight in doubles as she notched up wins in both the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles categories.
All eyes were on the fourth seeded Sindhu, who had been a twice bronze medallist at this premier global event. And she did not disappoint.
World No. 42 Kim Hyo Min of Korea had beaten the Indian in their last showdown at the Australian Open in 2016 and was being considered a dangerous first round opponent for the lanky World No. 5.
But the Pullela Gopichand protégé built up a quick lead to take the match away from the Korean. Even though Kim later put pressure on the fourth seed by engaging the Indian in long rallies, it was never enough to dent Sindhu’s confidence, who sailed away to a 21-16, 21-14 victory in 49 minutes.
Sindhu will next meet the winner of the second round contest between the 13th seed Cheung Ngan Yi and Evgeniya Kosetskaya.
Jayaram, Sai Praneeth cruise
In men’s singles, the 13th seeded Ajay Jayaram was hardly ever troubled in his opener. The India No. 2 needed just 31 minutes to dismiss the challenge of the World No. 114 Austrian Luka Wraber, 21-14, 21-12.
The Tom John ward next faces the 51st ranked Dutchman Mark Caljouw for a place in the pre-quarter-finals.
Sai Praneeth too dazzled in his debut at the World Championships. His Hong Kong opponent Wei Nan had been a former World No. 13 although has now slipped to 44th.
Despite some stiff resistance from Wei Nan, the Singapore Open and Thailand Open champion did not let him take a game and finished with a hard-fought 21-18, 21-17 win in 48 minutes.
The 26th ranked Anthony Sinisuka Ginting awaits the 15th seeded Indian in the second round.
The singles exponents thus join Srikanth Kidambi, Sameer Verma, Tanvi Lad and Rituparna Das in the second round, making it a grand start to India’s campaign.
Sikki Reddy the star of the show in doubles
Sikki Reddy made it a memorable day by being the only Indian doubles star to secure wins in both her categories. She first teamed up with Pranaav Jerry Chopra in mixed doubles for an effortless 21-12, 21-19 win over the Indo-Malaysian combine of Prajakta Sawant and Yogendran Khrishnan.
Sikki and Chopra are the only Indian doubles team to receive a seeding of 15th.
She and Ashwini Ponnappa were equally impressive in their outing in women’s doubles where the two prevailed 21-15, 21-13 over the Indonesian-Malaysian duo of Ririn Amelia and Anna Ching Yik Cheong.
India’s men’s doubles challenge ends
None of the other doubles teams could progress on Day 2 though some good efforts were on display.
Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy, who made it to the Syed Modi International mixed doubles final in January, won a game only to succumb to a 17-21, 21-18, 5-21 defeat at the hands of the 13th seeded Chinese pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping.
The women’s doubles pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram raised hopes of an upset only to run out of steam in the end against former Bitburger Open winners Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek, 21-13, 16-21, 8-21.
In men’s doubles, Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran too could not sustain their fighting spirit and went down 14-21, 21-19, 14-21 to Liao Min Chun and Cheng Heng Su of Chinese Taipei, who are ranked seven places above the 42nd ranked Indians.
Meanwhile, it proved to be a tough day for the 17-year-old Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who crumbled to double defeat.
In mixed doubles, Rankireddy and K Maneesha found the going tough against the 14th seeded Danes Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen and bowed out 20-22, 18-21 in a tight two-game second round encounter.
In men’s doubles, the teenager and Chirag Shetty were blown away 8-21, 12-21 by the accomplished World No. 28 duo of Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe of Japan in the first round.
With the twin defeats today, India’s challenge comes to an end in men’s doubles. Earlier on Day 1, the Lagos International titlists Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy exited in the first round.