World Badminton Championships 2017 Day 3 roundup: Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, Ajay Jayaram cruise; epic win for Sai Praneeth
Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy, meanwhile, put up a valiant effort before losing.
Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi and Ajay Jayaram had a largely hassle-free day and easily advanced to the pre quarter-finals at the 2017 BWF World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday. But the biggest talking point of the day for the Indian contingent was 15th seeded B Sai Praneeth’s epic comeback second round win that was a real test of his tenacity and resilience.
Sai looked out of sorts and trailed 0-8 in a disastrous start to his second round match against the 26th ranked Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia. Even though he levelled the match and forced a decider, he was heading for an exit after going down 12-18 in the third game.
But that is where the champion in Sai awoke and he worked his way back into the match by prolonging the rallies and ultimately grabbed the 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 win in 1 hour 12 minutes.
Sai has the sixth seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei up next.
Impressive start for Nehwal
Saina, the 2015 runner-up, is seeded 12th this time as her results have not been too satisfactory of late following her knee surgery in September. But the former World No. 1 showed no signs of rust when she began her campaign with a breezy 21-11,21-12 win over Switzerland’s World No. 36 Sabrina Jaquet.
With that win, the Indian superstar set up a mouth-watering third round clash with the second seed Sung Ji Hyun. Saina had emerged the winner the last time they crossed swords at the Australian Open in June.
12th win in a row for Srikanth
The Indian No. 1 men’s singles player Srikanth Kidambi continues his impeccable form as he notched up his 12th consecutive win. The Indonesia Open and Australian Open winner blitzed past the 63rd ranked Frenchman Lucas Corvee in the first game and staved off his late challenge in the second game for a 21-9, 21-17 victory.
The eighth seed next faces the 14th seeded Danish rising star Anders Antonsen for a place in the quarter-finals.
13th seeded Ajay Jayaram was equally impressive in his second round and secured a 21-13, 21-18 victory over the 51st ranked Mark Caljouw of The Netherlands.
For the India No. 2, an uphill task awaits in the pre-quarter-finals as he would be locking horns with the fifth seed and two-time defending champion Chen Long.
There was not much good news elsewhere for the Indian squad.
Sameer Verma bowed out with a 20-22, 9-21 loss to the 16th seeded Rajeev Ouseph. The latter now goes on to face the five-time world champion, Lin Dan.
In women’s singles, Tanvi Lad gave a tough fight to the second seed Sung Ji Hyun in the second game before falling to a 9-21, 19-21 defeat in 33 minutes.
Reigning national champion Rituparna Das was beaten 16-21, 13-21 by the Scottish 16th seed Kirsty Gilmour.
Ponnappa-Reddy shine in loss
The India No. 1 women’s doubles combine of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy put up a valiant effort before succumbing to a 22-24, 21-17, 15-21 defeat at the hands of the second seeds Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen in 1 hour 13 minutes.
Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil too went down 14-21, 15-21 to the 14th seeded Chinese pair of Bao Yixin and Yu Xiaohan.
With the twin setbacks, curtains fell over India's campaign in women's doubles.