Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen registered contrasting wins to advance to the women’s and men’s singles semifinals, respectively, at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open badminton here on Friday (January 14).
Top seed Sindhu, a former world champion, got the better of compatriot Ashmita Chaliha 21-7 21-18 in 36 minutes, while Sen rallied his way to a hard-fought 14-21 21-9 21-14 victory over H S Prannoy in another all-Indian quarterfinals.
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad set up a women’s singles last-four clash with Thailand’s sixth seed Supanida Katethong, who entered the semifinals after the third seeded Yeo Jia Min of Singapore pulled out of the tournament due to “high fever”.
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Sen, seeded third, will square off against either Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong or Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen in the semifinals. In the other women’s semifinal, Aakarshi Kashyap will face second seeded Thai Busanan Ongbamrungphan after the Indian notched up a 21-12 21-15 win over compatriot Malvika Bansod on Friday. Busanan trounced USA’s Lauren Lam 21-12 21-8 in another last-eight clash.
The last time Sindhu was up against Chaliha, at the 83rd Yonex-Sunrise Senior National Championship in 2019, the youngster from Assam had produced a spirited performance. On Friday, Chaliha took time to get into the groove and put up a good fight in the second game but couldn’t stop Sindhu from walking away with the match. Sindhu came out all guns blazing in the opening game, jumping to a 11-5 lead at the interval and then reeling off the last 10 points to earn the bragging rights.
Chaliha gave a better account of herself in the second game as she tied 9-9 before Sindhu managed a slender one-point advantage at the break. Sindhu zoomed to 15-11 but Chaliha again clawed her way back to 15-15. Thereafter, Sindhu switched gears and grabbed four match points. Chaliha saved two match points before Sindhu closed out the match.
In the men’s singles, Sen and Prannoy engaged in a battle of supremacy with the former dominating the proceedings initially to secure a 6-2 lead. Prannoy, who had reached the quarterfinals at the last world championships, got his act together in time to turn the tables at 12-10 and then zoomed from 15-14 to pocket the opening game. Sen roared back into the contest in the second game as he ran up a huge 12-5 lead and didn’t look back from that point, as Prannoy crumbled.
In the decider, Prannoy took the initiative early, opening up a 6-1 advantage but he couldn’t sustain it as Sen moved to 11-9 at the interval and then pocketed nine of the next 11 points to seal the match in his favour. The men’s doubles pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek K cut a sorry figure against Malaysian third seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, losing 7-21 7-21 in just 19 minutes.
In the mixed doubles, the Indian pairing of Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan, seeded 8th, were no match for Malaysian combination of Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei, going down 10-21 13-21 in just 23 minutes.
Another Indian pair of Nithin HV and Ashwini Bhat K lost 15-21 19-21 to Singapore’s Hee Yong Kai Terry and Tan Wei Han to bow out of the USD 400,000 event.