India’s Aditya Prakash outclassed thirteenth seed Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 21-19, 18-21, 21-16 to storm into the semifinals of the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold tournament at the UP Badminton Academy, Lucknow, on Friday. Two more Indians —HS Prannoy and K Srikanth also reached the last-four stage of the men’s singles.
While Prannoy defeated Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Malaysia 21-19, 21-14, Srikanth beat compatriot B Sai Praneeth 21-18, 20-22, 21-12 after a one hour and 12 minute battle. Zulkiffli had on Thursday stunned top seeded and defending champion P Kashyap. The match between Prakash and Zainuddin lasted an hour and 11 minutes. Prakash, ranked 439, termed his performance against the World No. 67 as a “big achievement”.
“I had played against Zainuddin twice —in 2008 at the junior level and then in 2010 at the Malaysia International Challenge — and had defeated him on both occasions,” Prakash said.
He will now face ninth seed Xue Song of China. Song defeated Shubhankar Dey, the sixteenth seed, 21-18, 21-15 in his quarterfinal. “I know that tomorrow my opponent is from China but I am not under any pressure because of that. I feel that there is a 50-50 chance,” Prakash said.
After his victory over Sai Praneeth after a marathon battle, Srikanth said, “ I just wanted to win. I kept the focus on my game. My performances in the earlier matches and the recent tournaments gave me the much needed confidence today.”
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Saina, Sindhu advance
In the women’s singles, Saina Nehwal and rising star PV Sindhu won their respective quarterfinal clashes.
Top seed Nehwal defeated Ballaetrix Manuputty of Indonesia 21-15, 21-15 in the quarterfinal. The Indonesian put up some challenge in the first game in which the scores were level five times. After trailing at 6-11, Saina bounced back to bring parity at 14-all and from there onwards she was in total command.
In the second game Manuputty looked visibly tired and Saina enjoyed a clear lead throughout the game. Saina now faces Deng Xuan of China, who is the sixth seed. Xuan quelled the challenge of Jing Yi Tee of Malaysia 21-11, 21-7. Second seed PV Sindhu beat seventh seed Hera Desi of Indonesia 21-11, 21-13. Sindhu will play fourth seed Lindaweni Fanetri of Indonesia in the semis. Fanetri registered a 21-10, 21-7 win against Arundhati Pantawane of India on Friday. In the last edition of the tournament, Fanetri had upset Sindhu 21-15, 18-21, 21-18 in the final after an hour and 12 minute long fight.
In a men’s doubles quarterfinal clash, the Indian pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar defeated the Indonesian pair of Andrei Adistia and Hendra Aprida Gunawan 21-16, 21-12.
In the women’s doubles event, P Muenwong and K Ostermeyer of Thailand beat the Indian duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa 21-14, 21-11 in the quarterfinals.