It was the end of the road for two-time World Championship bronze medallist PV Sindhu in the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Badminton Tournament in Lucknow on Thursday, as she went down fighting to Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand.
Sindhu’s loss in the pre-quarters also brought the curtains down on Indian hopes in women’s singles at the $120,000 event.
Third-seeded Sindhu, who became world No 11 on Thursday, had a six-point lead in the second game after winning the first 21-18, but lost 24-26 before surrendering the final one 17-21.
Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix title last Sunday, committed several unforced errors, hitting as many as five smashes into the net, against world No 26 Jindapol in the first game before drawing parity at 17.
Two quick drops followed by a powerful cross-court volley helped Sindhu stretch her lead to 20-18, before winning 21-18. Despite bleeding from the left knee, the pint-sized Thai girl didn’t lose heart and rallied from 8-14 to level the score at 16-all and then 20-all.
The ding-dong battle continued before Jindapol sent back-to-back volleys down the line to level the game. In the decider, Sindhu never looked in control and paid the price. The tie lasted almost one-and-half hours.
Away from this, top men K Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap kept Indian hopes alive, making the quarterfinals with straight game wins later in the evening.
Last year’s Swiss Open winner and top seed Srikanth took just 32 minutes to brush aside Malaysian Iskandar Zulkamain Zainuddin 21-9, 21-12, whereas 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kashyap knocked out Chinese Zhu Siyuan in a 40-minute battle.
Another Indian Harsheel Dani too made the quarterfinals, stunning seventh seed Lee Dong Keun 21-15, 21-10. Shreyans Jaiswal, who scored an upset win over sixth seed Ajay Jayaram on Wednesday, lost to 11th seed Boonsak Ponsana 10-21, 18-21.
Earlier in the day, the top doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa marched into the quarterfinals. The sixth seeded pair outplayed the unseeded Indian duo of Ningshi Hazarika and Harika Veludurthi 21-9, 21-10. The other Indian pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant went down fighting to Netherlands’ Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek 17-21, 17-21 in a pre-quarterfinal tie.
In men’s doubles, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar knocked out the fifth seeded Indonesian pair of Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi 21-13, 21-14 in 30 minutes to make the pre-quarters. Top-seeded Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen beat Vineeth Manuel and S Sanjeeth 21-7, 21-12 in 19 minutes to move into the quarterfinals.