Top shuttlers PV Sindhu and B. Sai Praneeth stormed into the final of the women’s and men’s singles at the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold, notching up contrasting wins here on Saturday.
Top seed Sindhu had to do little to brush aside fourth seed Fitriani Fitriani of Indonesia 21-11, 21-19 to make it to her maiden final here, while ninth seed Sai Praneet stunned third seed and defending champion Kidambi Srikanth 15-21, 21-10, 21-17.
Bronze-medallist at the 2013 World Championship, Sindhu was given some challenge by world No. 31 Fitriani in the second game. She hit a few drop shots and cross-court volleys, but it made little difference to the world No. 9 as Sindhu took the game even when the score was 16-all. Sindhu will take on Indonesian Gregoria Mariska, who surprised sixth seed and country-mate Hanna Ramadini 21-19, 21-14.
- Men’s singles: 9-Sai Praneeth B (Ind) bt 1-K Srikanth (Ind) bt 15-21, 21-10, 21-17; 8-Sameer Verma (Ind) bt 15-Harsheel Dani (Ind) 21-15, 21-11.
- Men’s doubles: 8-Ching Yao Lu/Po Han Yang (Tpe) bt 4-Berry Angriawan/Hardianto Hardianto (Ina) 21-16, 21-17; 1-Mathias Boe/Carsrten Morgensen (Den) bt Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Ina) 11-21, 21-17, 21-19.
- Women’s singles: 1-PV Sindhu (Ind) bt 4-Fitriani Fitriani (Ina) 21-11, 21-19; Gregoria Mariska (Ina) bt 6-Hanna Ramadini (Ina) 21-19, 21-14.
- Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy (Ind) bt Sanjana Santosh/Arathi Sara Sunil (Ind) 18-21, 21-12, 21-13; 1-Kamillia Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Yin Loo Lim/Cheng Wen Yap (Mas) 23-21, 21-14.
- Mixed doubles: 7-B Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa bt 1-Joachim Fischer/Christinna Pedersen (Den) 19-21, 21-18, 21-18; 2-Pranaav Jerry Chopra/N Sikki Reddy bt Mathias Christiansen/Sara Thygesen (Den) 21-18, 21-13.
World No. 19 Srikanth, who had stunned Lin Dan at the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier, seized early lead in the opening game and won 21-15. But in the second, Praneeth regained confidence and won 21-10, setting up a thrilling finish.
In the decider, despite trailing 7-12, Rio Olympics quarterfinalist Srikanth fought back to level the scores, first at 15-all and then at 17-all. But a series of perfect dribbles at the net by Praneeth shattered Srikanth’s dream of making it to his second consecutive final here in 59 minutes. In the other semifinal, eighth seed Sameer Verma didn’t do anything special, disposing of 15th seed Harsheel Dani 21-15, 21-11.
But the star of the day was Ashwini Ponnappa, who made it to the final of both women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Pairing with N Sikki Reddy, she defeated India’s Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil 18-21, 21-12, 21-13, before shocking the top-seeded pair of Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen from Denmark 19-21, 21-18, 21-18 in mixed doubles with partner B Sumeeth Reddy.
The Badminton Association of India presented Sindhu a cheque of Rs 50 lakh for her silver-medal finish at the Rio Olympics, while Srikanth pocked Rs 10 lakh for making it to the quarterfinals in Rio. Chief coach P Gopichand got Rs 25 lakh.