Kidambi Srikanth and B. Sai Praneeth know each other’s play too well to be surprised. Irrespective of the difference in their world rankings — Srikanth is placed 13 spots above at seventh — Praneeth always believes he has a chance to win.
It was this belief that was instrumental in the duo producing a three-game battle in the quarterfinals of the India Open here on Friday.
There was very little to choose between the two as the score stood at 19-all in the decider. At this point, Srikanth held his nerves and pulled off the two points needed to advance with a 21-23, 21-11, 21-19 verdict.
“At 19-all, anything can happen and I am happy to win the big points,” said Srikanth appearing more relieved than pleased with his performance.
For a place in Sunday’s final, Srikanth takes on unseeded Chinese Huang Yuxian. In the bottom-half of the draw, Parupalli Kashyap faces former champion and second seeded Dane Viktor Axelsen, the conqueror of H. S. Prannoy.
In the women’s singles, second seed P. V. Sindhu expectedly advanced to the semifinals after two testing games, 21-19, 22-20, against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt.
The home favourite will have to raise the bar considerably on Saturday to overcome third seeded Chinese He Bingjiao.
Facing defending champion and sixth seed Beiwen Zhang, Bingjiao prevailed 21-18, 26-24 by converting a sixth match-point.
The other semifinal features former World champion and fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon and seventh seeded Chinese Han Yue.
Meanwhile, the home challenge in women doubles ended after the both pairs ran into the top two seeds in the quarterfinals. In an all-India clash in the men’s doubles, sixth seed Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy easily defeated Prannoy Chopra and Shivam Sharma for a place in the semifinal.
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