India Open Badminton: Sindhu Reaches Semis; Saina, Kashyap Out
Top seed PV Sindhu remained in the hunt to defend her title by reaching the women's singles semi-finals but Saina Nehwal, the other top home shuttler, was knocked out of the India Open in New Delhi on Friday.
Saina, who reached the finals at Indonesia Masters last week, looked a little sluggish in her movement and committed too many unforced errors to go down 10-21, 13-21 to World Number 11 American Beiwen Zhang.
Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, however, recovered from a mid-match slump to outwit Spain's World Number 36 Beatriz Corrales 21-12, 19-21, 21-11 in the other quarter-final.-
The World Championship silver medallist will next face 2013 World champion and World Number Thai Ratchanok Inthanon.
Mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra, who had reached the semi-finals at Japan Open last year, entered the final four again here after beating Chinese combo of Han Chengkai and Cao Tong Wei 21-8, 21-13.
The eighth seeded Indian duo will face fifth seeded Danish combo of Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen, who beat Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa 21-17, 21-11 in another match.
It turned out to be a disappointing day for Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth as they suffered straight game defeats to their respective opponents to bow out of the tournament.
Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap seemed a bit tired and could not match China's Qiao Bin, losing 16-21, 18-21 in the men's singles quarter-finals.
Kashyap blew a 7-2 lead early on in the opening game, while in the second, he erased 4-11 and 8-16 deficit to claw his way back at 18-18 before Bin surged to close out the match.
Eighth seed Praneeth too failed to negotiate the fast-paced game of third seed Taiwanese Chou Tien Chen and went down 15-21, 13-21.
Praneeth was 6-11 behind at the break and though he levelled par at 14-14, Chen quickly changed gears to pocket the first game.
Nothing changed in the second game as the Indian trailed 4-9 before making it 10-11 at the interval. But Chen stepped up and walked away with the match.
Later, Sameer also found the going tough against Malaysian qualifier Iskandar Zulkarnain, who had knocked out former champion Kidambi Srikanth on Thursday. His 49-minute fight ended with a 17-21, 14-21 scoreline in the end.
However, the biggest upset of the day was produced by Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi, who knocked out Olympic champion Carolina Marin, who had reached the final of the Indian Open last year, 21-12, 21-19 in a 48-minute clash.
Marin later complained about poor umpiring, saying the chair umpire was allowing changing the shuttle at her own will and acted as a “protagonist”.
Among others, top seeded Indonesian Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo shut out the fighting Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy 21-19, 21-19, while sixth seeded women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 17-21, 21-23 to Chinese pair of Du Yue and Li Yinhui.
Seventh seeded Indian pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram lost 10-21, 15-21 to second seeded Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
Sindhu dished out an attacking game to beat Spain's World Number 36 Beatriz Corrales 21-12, 19-21, 21-11 in the 35-minute quarter-final match.
Sindhu walked away with the opening game without much ado but Corrales came back in the second to lead 19-11.
Sindhu, however, reeled off seven points to draw parity at 18-18 but a lucky net chord kept the Spaniard alive in the match.
Back to the winning side of the court, Sindhu once again showed class as she zoomed to a 11-6 advantage at the lemon break. Corrales tried to make a comeback but the Indian ensured there are no hiccups as she used her disguised returns to bamboozle the Spaniard.
A jump smash gave Sindhu 10 match points. Corrales won a long rally before she hit long to hand over the match to Sindhu.
I came back in the second game but there was a lucky net chord or else it could have been a straight game. Overall it was a good game. At 16-9 in the second game nothing was going for me. After that when I was getting a few points I was feeling confident but luck was on her side. In the third game, I was confident right from the start and I maintained the lead and finished it comfortably.PV Sindhu
Talking about her match against Ratchanok, Sindhu said: “Definitely, it is not going to be easy. She is a tricky player. Last time I played her at Hong Kong. I have to give my best to win.”
In the other quarter-final match, Saina looked completely out of sorts in the opening game as a series of unforced errors saw her lag 0-6 behind before entering the interval at 5-11.
Zhang continued to dominate the rallies after the breather and grabbed the opening game when the Indian hit the net.
Saina changed gears in the second game as her movements became better and she constructed the rallies well to move 9-9 with the American. But Zhang again held a 11-9 lead after unleashing a smash on Saina's forehand.
After the break, Zhang again looked ominous as Saina struggled and eventually bowed out after hitting long.
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