Parupalli Kashyap was the lone Indian to make it as far as the semi-finals of the Singapore Open Superseries which saw the withdrawal of top Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal. Apart from Kashyap, HS Prannoy also did well to reach the last-eight stage. Here’s our weekly Indian badminton recap.
Parupalli Kashyap reaches semis
World No. 15 Parupalli Kashyap had been struggling since his triumph at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold tournament back in January. A hamstring injury resulted in a slide down the rankings. It was finally the Singapore Open where Kashyap started playing confidently once again.
He began with a 21-11, 21-13 win over Korean Lee Hyun Il and followed it up with a massive 21-15, 22-20 upset of the fifth-ranked Son Wan Ho. This was the Indian’s first ever victory over the Korean.
In the quarters, the World No. 15 thrashed Frenchman Brice Leverdez 21-6, 21-17. However, his brilliant run came to an end at the hands of the 13th-ranked Hong Kong shuttler Hu Yun in the semis. Kashyap took a one-game lead but faded away in a 20-22, 21-11, 21-14 defeat.
HS Prannoy impressive
Fast-rising HS Prannoy made the headlines in the second round with his third straight win over World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen. The Kerala shuttler who is perched at the World No. 14 spot in the rankings now, was dominant throughout the match and closed it out with a 21-16, 21-8 victory.
Prannoy could not play his next match as a foot injury sustained in the second round, forced him to withdraw.
Kidambi Srikanth crashes out early
With the withdrawal of Saina Nehwal, title hopes rested on the shoulders of World No. 4 Kidambi Srikanth. But the 22-year-old shuttler unfortunately could not replicate his India Open form and lost 15-21, 20-22 to 19th-ranked Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk. This was his first loss to the Thai since 2012.
The other Indian shuttlers in the men’s singles draw – RMV Gurusaidutt and B. Sai Praneeth – also could not make it far. While Gurusaidutt was edged out by Son Wan Ho in a tough opener, B Sai Praneeth succumbed to Jan O Jorgensen in the first round.
PC Thulasi bows out in opener
PC Thulasi was the only Indian in action in the women’s singles draw in the absence of Saina and the recuperating PV Sindhu. Unfortunately, her campaign came to an end in the first round as she crashed out to Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark.
Doubles pairs disappoint
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa were the only Indian doubles duo to win a round. However, the World No. 18 pair exited in the second round of women’s doubles after a hard-fought 22-24, 18-21 loss to third seeds Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang.
In men’s doubles, Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar were handed a first round defeat by the top-seeded Koreans Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong.
In mixed doubles too, the Indian pairs could not progress past the first round. Tarun Kona/Sikki Reddy were beaten by fifth seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na while Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Ashwini Ponnappa bowed out to Danes Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen.
In men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap moved up two spots to be ranked No. 15. Kashyap is now one place behind the 14th-ranked HS Prannoy. Kidambi Srikanth, meanwhile, maintains his 4th spot in the latest rankings.
Badminton Asia Championships next week
With the Badminton Asia Championships scheduled from 21st April, the top Indian badminton stars are taking a break this week in order to prepare for this prestigious Continental Championships. PV Sindhu is expected to return to competition next week at this elite event. With Saina and Sindhu spearheading the Indian women’s singles brigade, Indian medal chances look bright.
Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy will be in action in the men’s singles while the pair of Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa will be our best bet in doubles.