India’s double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu reached the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open Super 1000 tournament in Odense on Thursday after three hard-fought games against Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Later in the night, on an otherwise poor day for Indian shuttlers, world No 28 Sameer Verma pulled off a superb win against local favourite and world No 3 Anders Antonsen.
Sindhu won an entertaining battle against Busanan 21-16, 12-21, 21-15 in 67 minutes in her round of 16 match. She will now face Korea’s An Se-Young in the quarters.
Verma won 21-14, 21-18 in 50 minutes and received applause from home crowd as well at the end. The Indian was behind only once in the entire match (0-1 in the second game) as he stunned the third seed. Sameer will face world No 32 Tommy Sugiarto in the quarterfinals.
Kidambi Srikanth, meanwhile, lost 23-21, 21-9 in the men’s singles round of 16 to Japan’s world No 1 Kento Momota.
In mixed doubles, Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet beat India’s Dhruv Kapila and N Sikki Reddy 17-21, 21-19, 11-21 in the round of 16.
In men’s doubles, India’s MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila bounced back to win the second game but lost 15-21, 21-17, 12-21 against the fourth-seeded pair of Fajar Aafian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in their round of 16 match.
This is Sindhu’s first tournament since winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in August. One of India’s greatest Olympians, Sindhu had taken a break to rejuvenate before making a comeback in this tournament.
Later in the day, Lakshya Sen started well against world No 2 Viktor Axelsen in the round of 16 but was blown by the Olympic champion in the second game as he lost 15-21, 7-21.
In another upset of the day, but with Indians at the receiving end, seventh seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty could not make the most of a wide open men’s doubles field. They lost in the round of 16 against Malaysia’s Goh / Izzuddin in a three-game affair 21-14, 15-21, 15-21.
Coming into the match with a 1-5 head-to-head count, Sameer showed great athleticism and tactical acumen to down Antonsen, a silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships.
Sameer opened a 2-0 lead before increasing it to 11-6 at the break.
The Indian kept his nose ahead, crushing all attempts by the Danish player to make a comeback. He comfortably sealed the opening game with three straight points. The second game was slightly tighter but Sameer ensured that he held on to his two-point lead throughout after being 5-3 up early on.
Sameer entered the interval at 11-8 and didn’t allow Anderson to make any comeback.
Inputs from PTI