Sindhu, Lakshya move into India Open semis

Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu progressed to the women's singles semifinals after defeating fellow Indian Ashmita Chaliha in straight games.

P.V. Sindhu.   -  BAI

Riding on the confidence befitting a World championship bronze-medallist, Lakshya Sen punished H. S. Prannoy for his inconsistency for a place in the men’s semifinals of the $400,000 India Open badminton here on Friday.

Lakshya, 20, dropped the fast-paced first game but outplayed Prannoy, 29, in two rally-filled games for a 14-21, 21-9, 21-14 triumph.

This clash featuring Indians, seeded three and eight, produced its share of thrills for an hour. In the opening game where the players were locked 13-all, Prannoy raised the pace to his liking and won six straight points from 15-14 to take the lead.

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In the second game, Lakshya involved Prannoy in rallies instead of looking for a finishing stroke. Prannoy, too eager to go with the momentum gained from winning the first game, tried to reproduce the same pace but did not succeed. In fact, he could never draw level with Lakshya as the youngster enjoyed cushions of 12-5, 15-8 and 19-8 to easily force the decider.

Here, it was Prannoy who led 6-1 but could not prevent Lakshya from catching up at 12. Thereafter, Lakshya gave very little away and won nine out of the last 11 points to settle the contest.

Already seen as India’s best bet for a men’s medal in the 2024 Olympic Games, World No. 17 Lakshya plays 60th-ranked Malaysian Ng Tze Yong on Friday. In the other semifinal, World champion and fifth seeded Singaporean Loh Kean Yew faces Canada’s Brian Yang.

Two of the women's quarterfinals, too, were all-India affairs. Favourite P. V. Sindhu needed 36 minutes to end the impressive campaign of Ashmita Chaliha 21-7, 21-18. India No. 3 Aakarshi Kashyap maintained her superiority over Malvika Bansod, ranked seventh, 21-12, 21-15 in 46 minutes.

Aakarshi meets second seeded Thai Busanan Ongbamrungphan on Friday and Sindhu takes on another Thai Supandia Kathethong who received a walkover from an indisposed third seeded Singaporean Yeo Jia Min.

In the men’s doubles, second seed Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the semifinal with an easy win. From the top half, favourite Malaysian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan also made the grade without dropping a game.

Though India’s campaign ended in mixed doubles, the unseeded pair of Haritha Harinarayanan and Ashna Roy defeated compatriots Rudrani Jaiswal and Jamaludeen Anees Kowsar 21-16, 21-16 for a place in the women’s doubles semifinals.

The results:

Quarterfinals: (Indians unless stated):

Men: Brian Yang (Can) bt Kim Bruun (Den) 21-19, 21-18; Loh Kean Yew (Sgp) bt Sergey Sirant (Rus) 21-18, 21-16; Lakshya Sen bt H. S. Prannoy 14-21, 21-9, 21-14; Ng Tze Yong (Mas) bt Nhat Nguyen (Irl) 9-21, 21-18, 21-16;

(Doubles): Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Torjus Flaatten and Vegard Rikheim (Nor) 21-12, 21-14; Ong Yew Sin & Teo Ee Yi (Mas) bt Ishan Bhatnagar and K. Sai Pratheek 21-7, 21-7; Fabien Delrue &
William Villeger (Fra) bt Joshua Magee &Paul Renolds (Irl) 21-9, 23-21; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty bt Hee Yong Kai Terry & Loh Kean Hean (Sgp) 21-18, 21-18.

Women: P. V. Sindhu bt Ashmita Chaliha 21-7, 21-18; Supanida Katethong (Tha) received a walkover from Yeo Jia Min (Sgp); Aakarshi Kashyap bt Malvika Bansod 21-12, 21-15; Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha) bt Lauren Lam (Mas) 21-12, 21-8; (Doubles): Haritha Harinarayanan & Ashna Roy bt Rudrani Jaiswal & Jamaludeen Anees Kowsar 21-16, 21-16; Benyapa Aimsaard & Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Tha) bt Deeksha Choudhary & Yashica Jakhar 21-8, 21-3; Anastasiia Akchurina & Olga Morozova (Rus) bt Vivian Hoo & Lim Chiew Sien (Mas) 21-19, 11-21, 21-16; Ekaterina Malkova & Anastasiia Shapovalova (Rus) bt Ashwini Bhat & Shikha Gautam 21-18, 21-14.

Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng & Lai Pei Jing (Mas) bt Konstantin Abramov & Anastasiia Akchurina (Rus) 21-10, 21-14; Chen Tang Jie & Peck Yen Wei (Mas) bt Venkat Gaurav Prasad & Juhi Dewangan 21-10, 21-13; Hee Yong Kai Terry & Tan Wei Han (Sgp) bt H. V. Nithin & Ashwini Bhat 21-15, 21-19; Rodion Alimov & Alina Davletova (Rus) bt Chan Peng Soon & Valeree Siow (Mas) 21-14, 21-13.

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