Syed Modi Int'l: Sai Praneeth stuns Srikanth; Sindhu in final

Praneeth, seeded nine, appeared better as the clash against Srikanth grew longer and eventually won 15-21, 21-10, 21-17 in 59 minutes in the clash of two Gopi Chand Academy products. He now plays the final against National champion Sameer Verma.

Sai Praneeth

Sai Praneeth stunned defending champion Srikanth in the semifinal.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Much before B. Sai Praneeth proved his worth by ousting defending champion K. Srikanth, the duo of B. Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponappa pulled off one of the biggest-ever victories for Indians in mixed doubles by knocking out top seeded Danish pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen .

As expected, top seed P. V. Sindhu reached the final against an unseeded Georgia Mariska after overcoming a second-game resistance from her fourth seeded Indonesian compatriot Fitriani Fitriani in 39 minutes.

Praneeth, seeded nine, appeared better as the clash against Srikanth grew longer and eventually won 15-21, 21-10, 21-17 in 59 minutes in the clash of two Gopi Chand Academy products. He now plays the final against National champion Sameer Verma.

If India stayed on course of a singles’ ‘double’, Ashwini and Sumeeth ensured that Denmark’s dream of a treble in paired events stood shattered. The Indian combination, formed recently and ranked 516 in world rankings, stunned top seed Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen 19-21, 21-18, 21-18 in 71 minutes.

With the vociferous crowd getting firmly behind the home pair, Sumeeth and Ashwini made light of narrowly losing the opening game and held their nerves on the big points against the 2012 London Olympic bronze medallists.

This victory over the two-time bronze winners in World championships meant the title remained with Indian players. On other side of the court, in Sunday’s final, will be Sumeeth’s fiancée-to-be N. Sikki Reddy, forming the second seeded pair with Pranav Chopra. While this is the first outing for Sumeeth and Ashwini in a Grand Prix Gold event, the appearance in the final is also a maiden one for Sikki and Chopra.

Earlier, Ashwini and Sikki reached the women’s doubles final – against Denmark’s top seeded pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinana Pedersen – after a hard-fought victory over compatriots Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil.

In the men doubles final, Indonesia’s Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han will challenge the mighty Danes, top seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.

Semifinals results (Indians unless stated; prefix-indicates seeding):

Men: 9-B. Sai Praneeth bt 3-K. Srikanth 15-21, 21-10, 21-17; 8-Sameer Verma bt 15-Harsheel Dani 21-15, 21-11.

Women: 1-P. V. Sindhu bt 4-Fitriani Fitriani 21-11, 21-19; Gregoria Mariska (Ina) bt 6-Hanna Ramadini (Ina) 21-19, 21-14.

Men's doubles: 1-Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Ina) 11-21, 21-7, 21-19; 8-Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han (Tpe) bt Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto (Ina) 21-16, 21-17.

Women's doubles: 1-Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Yin Loo Lim and Yap Cheng Wen (Mal) 23-21, 21-14; Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy bt Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil 18-21, 21-12, 21-13.

Mixed doubles: B. Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponappa bt 1-Joachim Fisher Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen (Den) 19-21, 21-18, 21-18; Pranav Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy bt Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen (Den) 21-18, 21-13.

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