Srikanth bows out; Sindhu, Saina enter QFs

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Feb 2018 10:32:21



KIDAMBI Srikanth crashed out of the India Open after suffering a shock straight game loss even as title-contenders Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu progressed to the quarter-finals with facile wins, here on Thursday.
Playing his first tournament of the new season after recovering from an abdominal muscle strain, world No 3 Srikanth suffered a 19-21, 17-21 loss to Malaysian qualifier Iskandar Zulkarnain, who is giving his career a last shot after coming back from a long injury gap due to back problem.

“I was at par with him in both the games but in the last few points he played really well. I am feeling good and I want to continue playing. I need more match practice. He is tricky and he gets shuttles back from crazy positions. I am just happy to be back on court,” Srikanth said after the men’s singles match.

Top seed and defending champion Sindhu dumped Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri 21-10, 21-14 in the women’s singles to set up a clash with eighth seeded Spaniard Beatriz Corrales, who defeated Ruthvika Shivani Gadde 21-17, 21-10.

“It was an easy match. There were many long rallies but I made many unforced errors. I have to try different strokes, get some on court in practice,” Sindhu said.
Saina, who reached the finals at Indonesia Masters last week, mauled Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt 21-12, 21-11 in another women’s singles duel and will now face American fifth seed Beiwen Zhang next.

Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth defeated Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 21-10, 21-15 in the men’s singles and will lock horns with third seeded Taiwanese Chou Tien Chen next.

Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who has been struggling to cross the opening round ever since recovering from his series of injuries, finally reached the men’s singles quarter-finals of a major event after overcoming compatriot Shreyansh Jaiswal 21-19, 19-21 21-12.
He will face China’s Qian Bin, who overcame a fighting Kartikey Gulshan Kumar 21-17, 14-21, 21-13 in another pre-quarterfinal match.

Coming back after recovering from a shoulder injury, Sameer Verma also dished out an attacking game to see off former world No 3 and 2014 World Championship bronze medallist Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-18, 19-21, 21-17 in an hour and 20 minutes in a men’s singles encounter.
Sameer, who won the Syed Modi Grand Prix gold last year, will square off against Zulkarnain.

“I was confident that I will make a comeback after losing the second game which was close. I just want to be fit this year, performance will come I know if I am fit. Making the team for the Commonwealth Games is difficult but Asian Games is my goal,” he said.

Unseeded mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also registered a stunning 21-16, 15-21, 23-21 win over third seeded Malaysian combo of Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing.
The Indian duo blew four match points before recovering in time to reach their maiden quarter-finals of a major tournament.

“It was crazy. They have reached semis and quarters in super series tournaments and we didn’t cross the prequarters so far. We have been playing long matches but couldn’t win. I guess we were too desperate to win points in the end. It was a tricky game and we’re happy to pull it off,” Ashwini said.