Saina, Sindhu lose; Srikanth, Prannoy ray of hope

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Sep 2017 09:29:54





OLYMPICS medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the USD 325,000 Japan Open Super Series after suffering straight-game defeats in second round here on Thursday.

However, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s singles.
Playing local favourite and world champion Nozomi Okuhara for the third consecutive time, Sindhu could not bring to the fore her best game and committed too many errors to go down 18-21, 8-21 in a lop-sided 47-minute contest.

The match lacked the long intense rallies, which were the hallmark of their last two contests—the 110-minute World Championship final and last week’s 83-minute Korea Open summit clash, which Sindhu had won.
Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu squandered a lead of 11-9 and 18-16 in the opening game and looked completely out of sorts in the second game to bow out early.

London Games bronze medallist Saina too squandered a 14-10 lead in the opening game and a 6-4 advantage in the second to go down 16-21, 13-21 to Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, seeded fifth.
However, World No 8 Srikanth, who clinched back-to-back titles in Indonesia and Australia this year, demolished Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 21-12, 21-11 within half an hour to make it to the final eight.

The Indian will now face the recently-crowned world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
Currently locked 2-2 in the head-to-head record, Srikanth had initial success against Viktor but the Dane had an upper hand in the last two meetings, winning in straight games.
“It was a good match. He can be very dangerous if you give him a chance, so I wanted to play very consistent,” said Srikanth.

US Open champion Prannoy managed to upstage Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao 21-16, 23-21. He will now play against second seed Chinese Shi Yuqi.
World No 2 Shi, who had reached the finals of All England Championship early this year, staved off a challenge from Syed Modi International winner Sameer Verma 10-21, 21-17, 21-15 in another match.

Among others, the mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy played their heart out before losing 27-29, 21-16 12-21 to Indonesian fourth seeds Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto in a match that lasted an hour and six minutes.

Sindhu led 6-2 early on but Okuhara closed the gap to 8-9 before Sindhu’s straight return bamboozled the Japanese. The Indian failed to negotiate a cross-court return from Okuhara, who miscued a stroke to the net to give a 11-9 advantage to the Indian at the break.

Okuhara quickly erased the deficit and grabbed a 12-11 lead after winning a long rally with a deceptive return. The Japanese continued to dominate as she unleashed a body smash and then won a video referral to move to 15-11.

Sindhu zooms to 2nd spot in BWF rankings
STAR India shuttler PV Sindhu on Thursday jumped two places to second spot in the Badminton World Federation women’s singles rankings, riding on her Korea Open Super Series title on Sunday.

This is the second time in her career that Sindhu, the Olympics silver medallist, occupied the second spot. She was at the same second rank on April 6 this year.
Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying retained her top spot.
Saina Nehwal was static at the 12th spot.

The reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain also remained at fifth while world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan moved up one place to eighth.
In the men’s singles rankings, K Srikanth remained unchanged at eighth while B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy dropped one place each to be at 17th and 19th respectively. Ajay Jayaram also lost three places to be at 20th spot.