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.”
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.