Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi, 29 March: Former champions PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth along with compatriot P.Kashyap stormed into the semi-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Badminton here on Friday.
There was no stopping the 2017 champion Viktor Axelsen, who recorded a commanding 21-10, 21-16 win over ’s HS Prannoy .
Fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon continued her quest for her third title with a 21-18 21-19 victory over her compatriot Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
The quarter-final day witnessed a big upset as China’s World No. 30 Huang Yuxiang sent the seventh seed Khosit Phetpradab packing 21-16, 21-15.
The second seeded Sindhu survived some anxious moments before ousting the eighth seeded Mia Blichfeldt 21-19, 22-20 in 44 minutes.
The Rio Olympic silver medallist, who is aiming to reach the final for the third consecutive year, next takes on the third seed He Bingjiao, a 21-18, 26-24 winner over the 2017 winner Beiwen Zhang.
“There were too many unforced errors and misjudgements. I couldn’t give my 100% but such matches keep happening,” said Sindhu after the match, adding, “Bingjiao is a tricky player and there is no particular strategy against her. It is more about the mind and you need to control it.”
Meanwhile in a riveting all-Indian encounter, the 2015 champion Srikanth accounted for Sai Praneeth 21-23, 21-11, 21-19 in 62 minutes for t his third win in eight meetings over the former Swiss Open runner-up.
After Sai built an early lead of 5-2, Srikanth cut down on his errors and drew level at 13-13 only to concede an 18-14 advantage. The former champion did save three game points but Sai held on to close out the game 23-21.
However in the second game Srikanth trailing 1-7 made a spirited fight back to inch ahead to 15-11 and then added the next six points as well to take the second game 21-11.
In the decider ,Sai had the early advantage of 13-10 but his rival’s patience got him back into contention. In a tense ending, Srikanth’s lob at 19-19 landed right on the backline to give him a match point which he duly converted.
“After losing the first set and being 7-1 down in the second to coming back in the lead with 8-7 was the turning point,” said Srikanth after the win
“After 1-1 I gave him too many one stroke points and there were no rallies so I thought to build rallies and fight it out for every point and not to give any easy points,” he added.
The 32-year-old Kashyap turned back the clock to reach his first semi-final in a Super 500 level tournament in nearly four years.
The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist showed enough glimpses of his younger self by building a 9-6 lead against World No. 32 Wang Tzu Wei and then resisted a comeback from Wang to complete a 21-16, 21-11 win.
Men’s doubles sixth seeds Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy effortlessly won an all-Indian quarter-final clash with Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma 21-10, 21-12.
The former national champions are the last Indian pair standing at this prestigious tournament after the 10-21, 18-21 defeat of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy to top seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.
After being outplayed in the first game, an aggressive approach helped the Indians turn it around in the second game and build an 11-6 lead. However, the top seeds came storming back to grab the win in 37 minutes.
Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP too lost 8-21, 11-21 to second seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
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