Saina Nehwal beat Haruko Suzuki of Japan to advance to the semi-final of the Thailand Grand Prix Gold. Saina beat Suzuki 21-15, 20-22 and 21-11. India’s other entry at Bangkok, B Sai Praneeth also produced a dominant showing to advance to the men’s semi-final. He beat local lad Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-16, 21-17.
The third seeded Praneeth comfortably defeated the Thai 21-16 21-17 in the men’s singles section at the Nimibutr Stadium.
The world number 24 took 50 minutes to complete the task against his opponent, ranked 102 in the world.
In their only meeting before today’s match, the 24-year- old Praneeth had beaten Wangcharoen 18-21 21-14 21-15 at the Indonesian Masters last year.
Both Saina and Praneeth are the only remaining individuals carrying forward the Indian challenge at Bangkok. Sourabh Verma and Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, who also went to Thailand, could not reach the quarter-finals. Sourabh went down 16-21 25-23 11-21 to fifth seeded Frenchman Brice Leverdez while Sai Uttejitha Rao was knocked out after a 15-21 17-21 loss to Thailand’s Pattarasuda Chaiwan.
Saina and Praneeth, on the other hand, had comfortable outings on the way to the quarter finals. Saina beat Ying Ying Lee of Malaysia 21-11, 21-14 while Praneeth defeated Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain 21-13 21-18. In mixed doubles, Prajakta Sawant and her Malaysian partner Yogendran Khrishnan lost 10-21 9-21 to top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.