Kidambi enters semis; Saina, Prannoy bow out

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Oct 2017 09:54:19



KIDAMBI Srikanth kept India’s flag flying as he rallied to beat Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 14-21, 22-20, 21-7 to move into the semi-finals of the $750,000 Denmark Open badminton tournament on Friday night.
Eighth seed Srikanth lost the first game but bounced back beautifully in the second to stretch the match into the third game. In the decider, Srikanth took the lead from start to win it 21-7.

The match lasted 55 minutes. However, it was curtains for Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy as they were knocked after losing their respective quarter-finals in straight games at Odense.
Prannoy lost his men’s singles last-eight match 13-21, 18-21 to top seed Son Wan-ho in 44 minutes. This was the South Korean’s third win over Prannoy in four meetings and first since 2014.

Earlier, unseeded Saina, who is ranked 12th in the world, went down 10-21, 13-21 in less than half an hour to Japanese fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi in the Superseries Premier tournament.
This was Saina’s second loss in three meetings against the Japanese World No 5. Akane will next take on Chinese World No 10 Chen Yufei, against whom the Japanese has a 3-1 record.

The Hyderabadi, playing her second tournament since her bronze medal winning performance at the World Badminton Championships in Glasgow, had taken off well at the Odense Sports Park after beating Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain in her opening round.
But on Friday, the former World No 1 Indian looked out of touch as she consistently made unforced errors throughout the match.

Saina, who had won the Denmark Open way back in 2012, matched Akane early in the match but the Japanese displayed tremendous skill and agility to quickly race away to an 8-3 lead. The fourth seed kept extending her lead and closed out the game in her favour on her first game point.
The Olympic bronze medallist from India fought back in the second game, matching Akane’s strokes till 10-all.

But then from 13-12, she suddenly found legs to win the next seven points to reach match point at 20-12. Saina saved one but it was a little too late as Akane clinched the next point to enter the semis. Akane totally dominated the match, winning 42 of the 65 points played.