Shuttlers Saina, Sindhu march into Indian Open quarters
Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu sailed into the quarter-finals of the India Open World Superseries badminton championships, while men's singles shuttler Sameer Verma continued his rise even as Kidambi Srikanth exited the competition here on Thursday.
Saina posted a comfortable 21-14, 21-12 win over Chochuwong Porpawee of Thailand at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
World No.9 Saina and the 2015 winner looked much relaxed in the match and did not have to sweat much as she wrapped up the proceedings in 33 minutes to stay on course for her second title.
She set up a blockbuster quarter-final with Sindhu, who got past Japanese Saena Kawakami 21-16, 23-21 in 40 minutes.
Top seed and 2016 Olympic champion Carolina Marin also advanced as she defeated Rituparna Das 21-13, 21-11 in 27 minutes.
Sameer kept India's hopes alive in the men's section of the $325,000 tournament as he strolled into the quarter-finals with an easy 21-17, 21-15 win over veteran Hu Yun of Hong Kong.
The World No.38 who had accounted for the World No.5 Son Wan Ho of Korea on Wednesday was in stellar touch and hardly looked to be troubled by the unseeded Hu. He will now be up against Denmark's Anders Antonsen, who got a walkover from eighth seed Marc Zweibler of Germany.
"I had prepared for his game but he played better today. He is a tricky player with quality strokes. I think I am confident enough to go for my strokes. I will look to continue the momentum tomorrow," Sameer said after the match.
However, it was heartbreak for Srikanth who went down to top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in a match that lasted for 25 minutes. Srikanth, who was one of the contenders, came into the clash with great confidence considering his better head-to-head record over the mighty Dane. But the Indian was completely outplayed as he could not judge the flight and finally lost 7-21, 12-21.
"There are days when nothing goes according to the plan. He played exceptionally well and there was nothing that I could really do to stop him today," Srikanth said.
B. Sai Praneeth also could not rise to the challenge of the seventh seed Tien Chen Chou. Sai lost 14-21, 16-21.
India's mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy lost to Russians Evgenij Dremin and Evgenia Dimova 18-21, 19-21.
Sikki was also ousted in the women's doubles category. Paired with Ashwini Ponnappa, the Indians lost to Thai fourth seeded pair of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 15-21, 10-21 in 34 minutes.