Indian badminton fans had a lot to cheer about on Thursday as the female shuttlers had a fantastic outing at the World Badminton Championships. Women’s second seed Saina Nehwal along with PV Sindhu progressed with comfortable wins and the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also made it to the next round of the World Badminton Championships.
Indian women through to next round of World Badminton Championships:
Sindhu posts victory over world number 3 Li Xuerui
World No. 11 PV Sindhu overcame her toughest opponent in the tournament so far, as she faced world no. 3 Xuerui Li. The Indian shuttler was emphatic in her first set as she won 21-17, but China’s Li made a comeback in the second set taking it 21-14. In the final set, Sindhu defeated Li and set her head-to-head record at 2 each and caused a major upset in the tournament.
She next faces 8th ranked Ji Hyun Sung and has a great record against her, winning three of the previous four encounters between the two.
Saina cruises into quarters, faces Yihan Wang next:
India’s top shuttler Saina Nehwal continued her unbeaten run against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi winning in straight sets 21-18 and 21-14. The Japanese player tried her best in the first set and did manage to challenge the Indian but experienced Saina comfortably took the set and proceeded to the next round.
Saina is up against a familiar opponent in China’s Yihan Wang, who has an incredible record against the Indian, winning nine of the eleven matches they have played against each other. However, the Indian would like to repeat her heroics of the All England Open where she overpowered the Chinese in straight sets.
India’s most successful doubles team of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa performed to their expectations. The duo comfortably overcame the Japanese pair of Kakiiwa and Maeda in a three-set thriller winning 21-15, 18-21 and 21-19 inside an hour.
The Indian pair will now face another Japanese pair of Fukuman and Yonao in the next round. The Japanese pair advanced at the cost of second seeds Luo sisters of China and will not be easy opponents to face for the Indian duo.
End of Indian Men’s journey at the World Badminton Championships:
Kidambi Srikanth fails to kick-off:
Men’s third seed Kidambi Srikanth continued his tradition of exiting in the third round, this time at the hands of 13th ranked Yun Hu. The competition between the two was fierce and needed the tie breaker to identify the winner in the third and final set.
The result was especially disappointing for the Indian who had won both his previous encounters against the Chinaman. Srikanth’s loss was the second major upset of the tournament today.
Prannoy accepts hard-fought defeat:
HS Prannoy’s run at the World Badminton Championships came to a disappointing end as he lost to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen. The Dane took up his personal record against the Indian to three wins out of three. Prannoy did all he could, but he was not good enough on the night.
He made a comeback after losing the first set 16-21, with a close 21-19 win. But he failed to repeat the performance in the all important third set, thus losing 21-18.