Indian Open Superseries: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu win, men’s challenge ends

March 31:Defending champion Saina Nehwal entered the pre-quarterfinals but it turned out to be a disastrous day for the men with all of them, including reigning champion K Srikanth, failing to cross the opening hurdle at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super Seriesbadminton here on Wednesday.

World No. 10 Srikanth, who had defeated Tian Houwei during the Badminton Asia Team Championships in February, played out of his skin before losing 13-21 21-17 22-24 to the All England finalist from China in a hard-fought match that lasted one hour and 23 minutes.

Srikanth, who has not crossed the second round of any Super Series event ever since his India Open win last year, will lose a lot of ranking points and it might put his Olympic qualification in danger as he will slip down the ladder when the BWF ranking list is released on April 7.

Indian challenge ended in men’s singles after H S Prannoy and Sourabh Verma also suffered defeats in the opening round at the Siri Fort stadium.

World No. 6 Saina, P V Sindhu and unheralded Rituparna Das, however, advanced to the second round of the USD 300,000 event.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina thrashed compatriot Tanvi Lad 21-7 21-13 in a lop-sided 34-minute match, while Rituparna defeated compatriot Anura Prabhudesai 21-18 21-15 in another women’s singles match. P V Sindhu too reached the pre-quarterfinals after making mincemeat of Italy’s Jeanine Cicognini 21-8 21-8 in just 18 minutes.

Saina will next face Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol, Rituparna will meet former All England champion and fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, while two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu will be up against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungphan.

Even before the fans could recover from the defeat of Srikanth, Prannoy, who had won the Swiss Open last week, went down fighting 21-23 21-18 13-21 to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand and Sourabh, who is trying to make a comeback from a series of injuries, was hit by a tornado called Lin Dan of China. The 23-year-old from Dhar lost 18-21 9-21 to the two-time Olympic champion.

Earlier, B Sai Praneeth, who had stunned two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei in the opening round of All England Championship, lost 20-22 13-21 to Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia, while Ajay Jayaram blew away a 11-7 and a 19-17 lead in the decider to go down 12-21 21-13 19-21 to German Marc Zwiebler in the opening round.

Women’s singles player Ruthvika Shivani Gadde also suffered a 10-21 14-21 loss to sixth seeded Chinese Wang Shixian, who had reached the finals of the All England earlier this month.

Among the seeded singles players, top seed Malaysian Lee Chong Wei, second seed Japanese Kento Momota, third seed Dane Jan O Jorgensen, fourth seed Chinese Lin Dan, fifth seed Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen reached the second round in men’s singles.

In women’s singles, China’s Li Xuerui, seeded third, sixth seed Chinese Wang Shixian, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, seeded fourth, also won their respective matches.

In men’s doubles category, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar, who reached the finals of the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold, beat Arjun Kumar Reddy Malgari and Santosh Ravuri 21-17 21-16 to set up a fight with Korean second seeds Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang.

The other Indian men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, who won the Mexico Open last year, beat compatriots Vineeth Manuel and S Sanjeeth 21-13 21-13 in another lop-sided match. They will meet Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling and Chi-Lin Wang.

Jishnu Sanyal and Shivam Sharma also reached the second round after brushing aside Egypt’s Ali Ahmed El Khateeb and Abdelrahman Kashkal 21-6 21-11. They will square off against Chinese Teipei’s Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin.

In women’s doubles, Mohita Sahdev and Sanjana Santosh defeated fellow Indians Smriti Nagarkoti and Parssa Naqvi 21-19 21-7. They will clash with compatriots Ch. Poornima and Rachita Sahdev.

Gauri Asaji and Karishma Wadkar will take on top seeds Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii after the unknown Indian pair beat compatriots Nimmi Patel and Saruni Sharma.

2011 World Championship bronze medalists Jwala and Ashwini, however, lost 21-17 14-21 17-21 to Korea’s Go Ah Ra and Yoo Hae Won to end their campaign.

Three Indian pairs reached the second round in mixed doubles too.

Manu and Ponnappa thrashed compatriots Kapil Chaudhary and Smriti Nagarkoti 21-7 21-3 to set up a clash with China’s Zhang Wen and Jia Yifan next, while Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan beat Kashish Sharma and Jagriti Nashier 21-11 21-17 and they will take on China’s Liu Yuchen and Tang Jinhua.

Pranaav and Sikki Reddy also notched up a thrilling 21-17 17-21 21-14 win over Korean combo of Solgyu Choi and Eom Hye Won to set up a meeting with Chinese Wang Yilyu and Chen Qingchen.

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