New Delhi, March 29,
In an enthralling all-Indian second round face-off, Sai Praneeth edged fifth seed Sameer Verma to enter the quarter-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Thursday. The marathon 18-21, 21-16, 21-15 win that took Sai 1 hour 11 minutes to complete, had the World No. 20 lying on the court in relief after converting the match point.
This was Sai’s second consecutive victory over the World No. 15, just a week after getting the better of him at the Swiss Open, where he made it to the final.
Having beaten his practice partner, Sai pointed out on how tough it can get facing a familiar opponent. “When you play an opponent who you play with, it is obviously tough. We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, so with nobody outside the court to tell you something about strategies, you have to think on your own.”
Sai could have to face another Indian in the last-eight, provided third seed Kidambi Srikanth beats Lu Guangzu.
Parupalli Kashyap made short work of World No. 58 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-11, 21-13 in just 37 minutes to secure his quarter-final berth. The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist ran away to 14-8 in the first game and continued the momentum in the second game to build an 11-3 lead.
A day after playing a three-game match, the 32-year-old Kashyap was happy to finish his second round quickly. “I’m happy I could pull out two good matches. Yesterday was tougher physically, but game-wise I think I was better today and I’m looking forward to the next round,” said the former World No. 6.
Subhankar Dey failed to repeat his first round heroics and succumbed to a 16-21, 13-21 defeat to World No. 32 Wang Tzu Wei.
Rising star Riya Mookerjee’s brave run, however, came to an end at the hands of eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt 8-21, 21-17, 13-21.
World No. 67 women’s doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP dug deep to edge the 40th ranked Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting 21-19, 7-21, 21-17. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma too reached the last-eight stage, courtesy of a 21-15, 21-11 win over Aniruddha Mayekar and Vinay Kumar Singh.
In mixed doubles, Chopra and Sikki Reddy put up a courageous display before losing 21-19, 19-21, 14-21 to the fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
Axelsen cruises; Bingjiao beats Xuerui
There was no stopping the 2017 champion Viktor Axelsen, who needed just 32 minutes to register a commanding 21-11, 21-9 win over Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon. In a battle of generations, Chinese third seed He Bingjiao beat 2012 Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui 21-18, 21-17 for her second consecutive victory over her senior compatriot.
Defending champion Beiwen Zhang beat Brittney Tam 21-6, 21-16 for her seventh win on the trot at this prestigious tournament while seventh seed Han Yue was a 21-13, 21-8 winner over Chananchida Jucharoen.
Men’s doubles top seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen effortlessly beat Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin 21-14, 21-7. In mixed doubles, BWF World Tour Finals champions Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping halted the run of Ricky Karandasuwardi and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet 21-8, 21-11.
Khosit Phetpradab (THA) (7) bt Sitthikom Thammasin (THA) 21-19, 12-21, 21-18
Sai Praneeth (IND) bt Sameer Verma (IND) (5) 18-21, 21-16, 21-15
Parupalli Kashyap (IND) bt Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) 21-11, 21-13
Viktor Axelsen (DEN) (2) bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon (THA) 21-11, 21-9
Wang Tzu Wei (TPE) bt Subhankar Dey (IND) 21-16, 21-13
Mia Blichfeldt (DEN) (8) bt Riya Mookerjee (IND) 21-8, 17-21, 21-13
Beiwen Zhang (USA) (6) bt Brittney Tam (CAN) 21-6, 21-16
Astrup/Rasmussen (DEN) (1) bt Fei/Izzuddin (MAS) 21-14, 21-7
Hoo/Yap (MAS) (4) bt Dandu/Santosh (IND) 21-11, 21-15
Balan/Sruthi (IND) bt Yeung/Wing NG (HKG) 21-19, 7-21, 21-17
Wang/Huang (CHN) (1) bt Karandasuwardi/Bernadet (INA) 21-8, 21-11
Faizal/Widjaja (INA) (4) bt Chopra/Reddy (IND) 19-21, 21-19, 21-14