Japan Open: Srikanth, Prannoy ousted; Sikki-Pranaav pair enters maiden semis

India's H.S. Prannoy lost to China's Shi Yugi in straight games while Carolina Marin made short work of Japan's Akane Yamaguchi.

H.S. Prannoy was ousted from the Japan Open Super Series after losing 15-21, 14-21 to China's Shi Yuqi.   -  AFP

India's H. S. Prannoy and K. Srikanth were ousted from the Japan Open Super Series after losing in straight games to their respective opponents. Prannoy lost 15-21, 14-21 to China's Shi Yuqi in a 45-minute quarterfinal match, and Srikanth bowed out of the tourney, also in the quarterfinals, with a 21-17, 21-17 loss to Denmark's Viktor Axelsen.

Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Chopra entered their maiden semifinals of a Superseries as a doubles pair. They defeated Korea's Kim Ha Na and Seung Jae 21-18, 9-21, 21-19 in 58 minutes.

Sikki and Pranaav made a confident start and raced to a four-point lead early in the first game and took the break leading 11-7. The lead allowed them to play with more comfort as they won the first game 21-18.

Viktor Axelsen acknowledges the crowd after his victory. Photo: AFP

 

The Korean pair came strong and the Indians found the going tough when Kim and Jae displayed immaculate shot making abilities to run away with the second game 21-9 and force the decider.

Pranaav and Sikki then upped the ante, especially Pranaav, who dished out a good performance at the net, and held on to a slender two-point lead. The Indians held their nerve and slowly increased the gap by another point to lead by three. The Koreans tried to stage a comeback but the aggressive Indians were in no mood to relent to wrap up the proceedings in less than an hour and progress into the semifinals.

Earlier, Prannoy had previously registered straight-game wins over Anders Antonsen and Hsu Jen Hao to reach the third round whereas Shi has had to battle hard over three games against Brice Leverdez and India's Sameer Verma to make the last eight.

Shi took an early lead in the first game and raced to 11-8 lead soon. Prannoy, attempting a comeback, shot three back-to-back points to trail at 13-17 but the Chinese gave nothing away as Prannoy found the going tough to surrender the first game.

The story panned out a tad different in the second game when both the players mixed their shots well from the mid-court. However, with Yugi dominating the net shots and sending the Indian on the defensive worked as he raced to an 18-12 lead. Prannoy had no answers to Yugi's series of clean forehand shots and wrapped up the match with ease to progress into the last four.

Later, Spain's Carolina Marin beat Japanese Akane Yamaguchi 21-18, 21-15 to surge into the semifinals. The fifth seed Spaniard won the opening game 21-18. Both the shuttlers attacked well from the net and played long rallies but it was the Spaniard held the edge. The second game too proved easy for Marin as she thwarted Yamaguchi's attempts and won the game 21-15 in less than an hour.

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