Saina battles to semis, Prannoy downs Kashyap

In men’s singles quarterfinal, Parupalli Kashyap gave glimpses of his fighting qualities saving four match-points in the second game but World No. 11 H.S. Prannoy was the better player under pressure to emerge a 22-20, 21-19 winner.

Second-seeded Saina Nehwal of PSPB defeated Aakarshi Kashyap of Airports Authority of India 21-17, 21-10 in a thrilling women’s singles quarterfinal match.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Second-seeded Saina Nehwal of PSPB overcame a sluggish start to down Aakarshi Kashyap of Airports Authority of India 21-17, 21-10 in the women’s singles quarterfinal of the 82 Senior national badminton championship at the Divisional Sports Complex here on Monday.

The champion shuttler was clearly rattled at the start when the unseeded Aakarshi took a 6-4 lead, in the first game, with some deft placements at the net. She also looked equal to the challenge of facing a formidable opponent with some good cross-court smashes.

But, once Saina changed gears and went on an all-out offensive, the relatively inexperienced opponent was seen struggling to get things right. Though she did try to engage Saina in long rallies with constant net plays, the latter was in no mood to give any space and wrapped up the contest in 33 minutes.

In another women’s singles quarter-final, G. Ruthvika Shivani of PSSPB notched up a far more easier 21-14, 21-8 win over third-seeded Ch. Sai Uttejita Rao (AAI) in 25 minutes.

World No. 2 P.V. Sindhu (AP) was clearly tested before disposing off a spirited challenge from Shriyanshi Pardeshi (MP) with a 21-11, 21-17 win in 30 minutes to enter the last four.

In men’s singles quarterfinal, Parupalli Kashyap gave glimpses of his fighting qualities saving four match-points in the second game but succumbed to World No. 11 H.S. Prannoy as he proved to be the better player under pressure to emerge a 22-20, 21-19 winner.

World No. 2 K. Srikanth (PSPB) also had to sweat against a fighting Shubham Prajapati (MP) before clinching a 21-17, 23-21 win in a contest where the opponent surprised him with some telling smashes.

What was decisive for Srikanth in the final moments of the second game, which Prajapati threatened to win, was his ability to hit half-smashes at the net.

In an energy-sapping last match of the evening, Subhankar Dey of Railways, struggling with cramps in the end, shocked third-seed B. Sai Praneeth (PSPB) 13-21, 21-18, 22-20 to make it to the last four.

The results (Quarterfinals):

Men' Singles: H.S. Prannoy (PSPB) bt P. Kashyap (PSPB) 22-20, 21-19; Lakshya Sen (Utk) bt Ajay Jayaram (PET) 15-10 (retd); K. Srikanth (PSPB) bt Shubham Prajapati (MP) 21-17, 23-21; Subhankar Dey (Rlys) bt B. Sai Praneeth (PSPB) 13-21, 21-18, 22-20.

Women’s Singles: Saina Nehwal (PSPB) bt Aakarshi Kashyap (AAI) 21-17, 21-10; G. Ruthvika Shivani (PSPB) bt Ch. Sai Uttejita Rao (AAI) 21-14, 21-8; Anura Prabhudesai (AAI) bt Saili Rane (Rlys) 21-19, 21-9; P.V. Sindhu (AP) bt Shriyanshi Pardeshi (MP) 21-11, 21-17.

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