India’s Mithun Manjunath recorded a stunning win over compatriot and World championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth to join two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu in the second round of the Singapore Open Super 500 tournament on Wednesday.
Manjunath, who had reached the finals of Orleans Masters Super 100 in April this year, beat world No. 11 Srikanth 21-17, 15-21, 21-18 in the opening round contest, which lasted exactly an hour.
The world No. 77 Indian, a product of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, will next take on Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen.
Earlier, Sindhu looked in complete control as she prevailed 21-15, 21-11 over Belgium’s world No. 36 Lianne Tan in women’s singles.
The former World champion will next face Vietnam’s Thuy Linh Nguyen.
Manjunath, 24, came out all guns blazing as he dominated the opening game after taking an early 6-2 lead. He kept Srikanth at bay to comfortably seal the opening game.
Srikanth, however, turned the tables after the change of sides as he enjoyed a 11-8 cushion at the break and kept extending his lead to come back into the contest.
The decider turned into a roller-coaster ride with the two slugging it out but it was Manjunath, who showed better control as he ensured a slender one-point advantage at the breather.
Srikanth managed to take a 16-15 lead at one stage but Manjunath didn’t let the opportunity slip and reeled off the last three points from 18-18 to notch up one of the biggest wins of his nascent international career.
Manjunath has been in fine fettle since he reached his maiden Super-100 final at Orleans Masters in France last April. He has claimed four All-India ranking titles, including the Senior Ranking Badminton tournament in December last year.
Earlier, he had contracted COVID-19 and had to withdraw from India Open Super 500 in January. He, however, made it to the Indian team for the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia after a semifinal finish at Syed Modi International and reached the quarterfinals at Odisha Super 100.
In the women’s singles match, Sindhu took time to get off the block, lagging 1-4 but she pulled away from 7-7 to never look back. After 11-8 lead at the mid-game interval, she kept moving ahead to pocket the opening game.
She continued the momentum in the second game with a 5-1 advantage. A three-point burst helped Tan to narrow the lead but a relentless Sindhu stepped up her game to seal the issue without much ado.
Prannoy, Saina advance
Prannoy, who had reached the semifinals at Malaysia Masters last week, saw off Thailand's Sitthikom Thammasin 21-13, 21-16 and will next meet third seeded Chou Tien Chen, whom he had beaten at Malaysia Open recently.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal also avenged her India Open loss to compatriot Malvika Bansod with a 21-18, 21-14 win to make it to the second round.