P V Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-game win in women’s singles but it was young Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who created a flutter at the USD 300,000 Singapore Super Series with a stunning victory over World No. 10 Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam.
Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Open and Macau Open last year besides the World Championship bronze, prevailed over Japan’s Shizuka Uchida 21-17 17-21 21-16 in her singles match. The Indian will next take on World No. 3 Yihan Wang.
After three first round exits in the All England, Swiss Open and India Super Series, Srikanth finally got his form back as he notched up an upset 18-21 21-15 21-8 win over the world championship bronze medallist. Thailand Open champion, Srikanth, who was the finalist at the India Grand Prix Gold earlier this year, will next take on Hong Kong’s Yun Hu in the quarterfinals. The Indian has a 1-0 record against Hu, having beaten him at the Maybank Malaysia Open early in the season.
In the men’s doubles competition, Alwin Franchis and Arun Vishnu were humbled by the top seeded Indonesian combo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-17 24-22. Another Indian pair of Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan, too, failed to cross the second round hurdle, as they went down fighting 21-23 17-21 to Gideon Markus Fernaldi and RizkiAmelia Pradipta of Indonesia in the mixed doubles event.
Parupalli Kashyap, who rose to the 19th place in BWF ranking, suffered a close 16-21 21-15 22-20 defeat to World No. 35 Dong Keun Lee of Korea in the men’s singles competition. In the women’s singles competition, Sindhu was 11-10 ahead at the first interval and the Indian kept the pressure on the World No. 113 Japanese Shizuka even after the break as she moved from 14-10 to 19-14 before pocketing the game.
In the second game, Uchida turned the tables after an early fight to lead 11-8, but Sindhu clawed back at 13-13. The Japanese, however, was not yet done as she again drew parity at 16-16 and then reeled off four points to take the match to the decider. In the deciding game, Sindhu led 15-11 midway. But the Japanese brought down the lead to 16-18 before Sindhu decided to march away with the remaining three points to seal the issue.
Earlier, Srikanth was little rusty to start with but he fought back from 6-14 to draw level at 16-16 and then moved neck and neck till 18-18. But the Vietnamese soon reeled off three points to earn the bragging rights.
In the second game, Srikanth started troubling Tien and opened up a 8-5 lead after an initial battle. Tien soon clawed back with three points but the Indian managed to keep his rival at bay and slowly carved his way back into the contest.
Getting back his confidence, Srikanth was his dominating self in the decider as he didn’t give Tien much opportunity and moved into the interval with a massive 11-3 lead. After the break, Srikanth kept the pressure on his higher-ranked rival and reeled off four points to move to 16-6 before closing the door on Tien.
Prannoy, too, had his chances in the three-game thriller that lasted for one hour and 16 minutes. In the first game, Pengyu opened up a slender 5-2 lead early, but Prannoy brilliantly fought back to grab a three-point advantage at 10-7 and 15-12.
In the deciding game, Prannoy led 3-0 initially, but Pengyu bounced back to lead 11-10 at the interval. After the breather, the Chinese dug deep into his reservoir to extend the gap and held his fort to eventually edge out the Indian.