P. V. Sindhu advances to India Open semifinals

Saina, Marin shocked; Indian interest ends in men singles.

It took P.V. Sindhu 35 minutes to down her rival, ranked 36, in the world.   -  AFP

Friday proved a truly testing day for the host in the USD 350,000 India Open here. Moreover, coach P. Gopi Chand could only watch helplessly as a vast majority of his trainees tumbled without stretching their rivals.

One after another, B. Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma and P. Kashyap lost in straight games and left the men singles draw without any home interest. Shockingly, this is the second successive year when the men semifinals is without an Indian. If that was not disappointing enough for spectators present at the Siri Fort Indoor Complex, the meek surrender of Saina Nehwal came as a shock.

Saina’s 21-10, 21-13 defeat to Beiwen Zhang was followed by the fall of another giant, Carolina Marin.

The saving grace was the survival of defending champion P. V. Sindhu and the Pranav Chopra-N. Sikki Reddy combine. Sindhu’s preparedness was severely tested as she needed a decider to stay alive unlike the convincing display from Pranav and Sikki.

Sindhu had to deal with 13-20 deficit in the second game against Marin’s team-mate Beatriz Corrales. Sindhu then saved six game points to reach 19-20 before the Spaniard levelled, forcing the decider following a ‘lucky point’ off the net-chord.

But those six points late in the second game helped Sindhu regain her self-belief and she raced through the decider.

In the one-sided men quarterfinals, conqueror of K. Srikanth, Malaysian qualifier Iskandar Zulkarnain advanced at the expense of Sameer. Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen raced past Praneeth after Kashyap began the trend with a straight-game defeat against China’s Qiao Bin.

Quarterfinals (Indians unless stated)

Men singles: Qiao Bin (Chn) bt P. Kashyap 21-16, 21-18; Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) bt B. Sai Praneeth 21-15, 21-13; Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt Wang Tzu Wei (Tpe) 21-13, 21-12; Iskandar Zulkarnain (Mal) bt Sameer Verma 21-17, 21-14.

Women singles: P. V. Sindhu bt Beatriz Corrales (Esp) 21-12, 19-21, 21-11; Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-11, 21-11; Beiwen Zhang (USA) bt Saina Nehwal 21-10, 21-13; Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) bt Carolina Marin (Esp) 21-12, 21-19.

Men doubles (involving Indians): Marcus Fenaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy 21-11, 21-15.

Women doubles (involving Indians): Du Yue and Li Yinhui (Chn) bt Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy 21-17, 23-21; Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) bt J. Meghna and Poorvisha Ram 21-10, 21-15.

Mixed doubles (involving Indians): Pranav Chopra and Sikki Reddy bt Han Chengkai and Cao Tong Wei (Chn) 2-8, 21-13. Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa 21-17, 21-11.

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