Hyderabad Open: Pranaav, Sikki Reddy enter semifinal

Pranaav and Sikki had to draw from their experience to keep the opponents at bay with some telling smashes and delectable net game in crunch time in the first game.

Top-seeded mixed doubles pair of Pranaav J Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy of India in action during the quarterfinal of the Hyderabad Open.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

India's premier mixed doubles pair of Pranaav J Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy lived up to the billing as top-seeds to down a fighting Hong Kong duo of Yeung Ming Nok and Ng Tsz Yau with a 22-20, 14-21, 21-17 win to enter the semifinal of the Hyderabad Open badminton championship at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Friday.

The Indian duo was clearly surprised in the first game with the tenacity and grit of the Hong Kong pair especially with the alacrity of Ng Tsz Yau who came up with some impressive interceptions catching on the wrong foot.

Pranaav and Sikki had to draw from their experience to keep the opponents at bay with some telling smashes and delectable net game in crunch time in the first game.

If the Indians thought it would be an easier outing, it was not to be as the Hong Kong pair was in no mood to give up and in fact startled the sparse home crowd favourites with a series of big smashes and wonderful net dribbles.

With Yau mostly staying close to the net, it was left to her partner Yeung to come up with the big points to take the issue into the decider.

There was little to choose between the two combinations in the final game and it was Hong Kong pair which actually led 11-8 at one stage.

But soon, with four points coming off Pranaav's serve, things changed comfortably for the Indian duo and more importantly, it seized on the opportunity to wrap up the game as Sikki came up with her trademark smashes and wonderful cross-court drops.

In men's singles quarterfinal, Pratul Josh gave a real scare to the top-seed Sameer Verma with a splendid blend of great down the line smashes and drops.

Unfortunately, he made a mess of even two match points in the second game as his backhand flick went out and then missed an easy net dribble. 

That was the phase when the more experienced Sameer staged a remarkable recovery to not only clinch that crucial second game but went on to literally outplay Pratul in the decider.

One wondered whether it was the same Pratul who had his opponent run around helplessly for most of the first two games.

In another men's singles quarterfinal, R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt of India outslugged Lim Chi Wing of Malaysia 13-21, 22-20, 21-11 while fifth-seeded K. Sri Krishna Priya was knocked out by Singaporean Yeo Jia Min with a 21-12, 21-12 win in 28 minutes in women's singles quarterfinal..

Important results: All quarterfinals: Men's singles: Soong Joo Ven (Mas) bt Heo Kwang Hee (Kor) 19-21, 24-22, 24-22; R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt (Ind) bt Lim Chi Wing (Mas) 13-21, 22-20, 22-11; Sameer Verma (Ind) bt Pratul Joshi (Ind)16-21, 26-24, 21-7; Firman Abdul Kholik (Ina) bt Vicky Angga Saputra (Ina) 18-21, 21-15, 21-14.

Women's singles: Deng Joy Xuan (Hkg) bt Iris Wang (USA) 15-21, 21-10, 21-15; Yeo Jia Min (Sgp) bt K. Sri Krishna Priya (Ind) 21-12, 21-12;  Sim YuJin (Kor) bt Rasika Raje (Ind) 21-19, 21-8; Kim Ga Eun (Kor) bt An Se Young (Kor)21-12, 18-21, 21-19.

Mixed doubles: Pranaav J Chopra & N. Sikki Reddy (Ind) bt Yeung Ming Nok &N Tsz Yau (Hkg) 22-20, 14-21, 21-17;  Renaldi Samosir & Hediana Julimarbela (Ina) bt S. Sunjith & K.P. Sruthi (Ind) 21-16, 21-13; A. Cahyono & W Kandow (Ina) bt M.R. Arjun & K. Maneesha (Ind) 21-7, 21-12.

Men's doubles: R. Satwiksairaj & Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Kona Tarun (Ind) &  Lim Khim Wah (Mas) 21-13, 21-10; Arun George & Sanyam Shukla (Ind) bt  Chan Tsz Kit & Yeung Shing Choi (Hkg) 21-17, 21-15.