World Championships: Sai Praneeth sails into next round

The 25-year-old Indian shuttler got the better of Wei Nan (Hong Kong) 21-18, 21-17.

Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth beat Wei Nan (Hong Kong) 21-18, 21-17 to advance to the next round of men’s singles at the World Badminton Championships in Glasgow on Tuesday.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

 

Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth beat Wei Nan (Hong Kong) 21-18, 21-17 to advance to the next round of men’s singles at the World Badminton Championships here on Tuesday. The 25-year-old Hyderabad boy upped his ante, in both the games, with clinical display of the racquet after initial jitters.

He was shaky in the opening game, but both of them were faultless in their shot selection from the baseline. The scoreline read 5-5 in the first 10 minutes, before Praneeth’s net shots bridged the gap by two points. Wei Nan put Praneeth on the back foot with four consecutive points to make it 9-5. But Praneeth showed great resilience and fought back in style. Banking on his court movement and agility, it didn’t take him long to make it 17-17.

The Hong Kong shuttler lost the plot towards the end, gifting the first game to Praneeth 21-18.

The Indian held on to the momentum and stepped the pace up in the second game. Though he allowed Wei Nan to go ahead from 13-10 to 15-14, but it was Praneeth who had the last laugh.

India top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy, seeded 15th, who had won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title, defeated Indo-Malaysian combo of Prajakta Sawant and Yogendran Khrishnan 21-12, 21-19.

However, disappointment was at store for India in the other mixed doubles matches as B. Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Maneesha K suffered contrasting losses to bow out of the event.

Sumeeth and Ashwini, who had reached the finals of Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in January, went down fighting 17-21, 21-18, 5-21 to 13th seeded Chinese pair of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, while Satwiksairaj and Maneesha lost 20-22, 18-21 to 14th seeded Denmark duo of Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen.

In women’s singles, National champion Rituparna Das also emerged victories in the opening round yesterday after her opponent Finland’s Airi Mikkela retired after lagging 0-2 in the first game.