Saina Nehwal, K Srikanth, HS Prannoy crash out; Sai Praneeth progresses in Thailand Open
Ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth crashed out of the Thailand Open after suffering unexpected defeats but B Sai Praneeth sailed into the quarterfinals of the men’s singles here on Thursday. Seventh seed Saina, who returned to action after nearly two months, squandered a game advantage to lose 21-16 11-21 14-21 against unseeded Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in a women’s singles second round duel that lasted 48 minutes.
In the absence of PV Sindhu, who withdrew in the last minute from the event, Saina’s ouster marks the end of India’s campaign in women’s singles.
Saina had earlier made last-minute withdrawals from Indonesia Open and last week’s Japan Open because of injuries.
Later, fifth seed Srikanth too wasted a game’s lead to bow out against less-fancied Khosit Phetpradab of Thailand 21-11 16-21 12-21 in the second round of the men’s singles.
To add to India’s woes, unseeded Indian shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap and H S Prannoy too bowed out without a fight. While Kashyap was no match for third seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, losing 9-21 14-21 in just 33 minutes, Prannoy suffered a 17-21 10-21 defeat against sixth seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.
But Sai Praneeth, who reached the semifinals of Japan Open last week, continued his good form and stormed into the last-eight round with a comfortable 21-18 21-19 win over compatriot Shubhankar Dey.
Sai Praneeth will be up against seventh seed Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the next round.
However, it was good news for India in the men’s doubles event as the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty moved into the quarterfinals after registering a straight-game 21-17 21-19 win over Indonesian combination of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto.
The India duo will next play qualifiers Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae of Korea on Friday. In mixed doubles, while the pair of Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponappa defeated Indonesia’s Alfian Eko Prasetya and Marsheilla Gischa Islami 21-18 21-19 to make it to the last-eight round, the other Indian duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 16-21 11-21 to eight seeds Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong to bow out of the tournament.
Rankireddy and Ponnappa will next play against third seeded Japanese combination of Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.