PV Sindhu overcame the challenge of Thai left-hander Supanida Katethong, bouncing back from a game down to win in the quarterfinals of the Syed Modi International Super 300 event in Lucknow on Friday.
Sindhu, who had lost against Katethong in the semifinal of the India Open in Delhi last week, found a way past the Thai shuttler this time around, winning 11-21, 21-12, 21-17 in 65 minutes. She will now face fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the semifinals.
Here’s how the three games panned out:
Sindhu’s first game, even thought it started off better than her previous match, finished in rather one-sided manner. The Indian’s radar was completely off towards the end, as she sent shuttles far wide and into the net. At the start of the second game there were signs that Sindhu was changing gears to get into a more attacking mode but Katethong refused to go away, even if the Thai committed more errors than the Indian. But from 11-10 at the interval, Sindhu put her foot down and zoomed ahead.
In the third game, Sindhu and Supanida exchanged punches like a good boxing battle. There were quite a few long rallies, with two thirty-plus shot exchanges in the back-end of the game. At 17-17, Sindhu produced the turning point with a defensive block that saw her celebrate with a big roar. As it turned out, from there Sindhu won all the points to clinch the match.
“I’m very happy that I won today because I’d lost to her in the India Open semis,” Sindhu said after the match.
“I didn’t lose hope after losing the first game, just kept telling myself that I have to give my best and remain confident. At such times you tend to lose confidence but I had hope that I could do it. Even after winning the second game, I was down 0-4 in the third. But even then I kept thinking that each point is important for me.”
She added: “I’m very happy that I won today. I would say it’s like a sweet revenge. She was playing very well, even strategy wise. We know each other’s game well so it was important to be consistent and keep the shuttle in the court. So yes, overall I’m very happy. Just have to rest now and prepare for tomorrow.”
In the other half of women’s singles, there were two exciting all-Indian battles that went the way of Malvika Bansod (against Aakarshi Kashyap) and 16-year-old Anupama Kashyap (against Samiya Imad Farooqui).
Bansod defeated Kashyap 21-11 , 21-11 in a match that lasted 42 minutes. Bansod, who defeated Saina Nehwal in the recently held India Open, had lost against Kashyap at this very stage last week. But Kashyap, India’s domestic No 1, prevailed in straight games this time around. Apart from this, fifth seed Russia’s Evgenia Kotskaya defeated Czech Republic’s Treja Savabikova 21-8 , 21-14.
India’s Anupama Upadhyaya, recently elevated to No 10 in the world junior rankings, defeated Samiya Imad Farooqui of India 24-22 , 23-21. Anupama, who had taken a game off Yeo Jia Min off Singapore in Delhi last week, will take on Bansod in the semifinal.
There was however disappointment for the other Indian title favourite. HS Prannoy, the fifth-seed but effectively the top billed shuttler, lost 19-21 16-21 to his French opponent in a 59-minute quarterfinal match.
Mithun Manjunath, however, advanced to the semifinals after beating Sergey Sirant of Russia 11-21 21-12 21-18 in a quarterfinal match that lasted one hour and one minute.
Manjunath will face Merkle in the semifinals.
In the mixed doubles event, the Indian pair of MR Arjun and Treesa Jolly beat the eight seeded French duo of William Villeger and Anne Tran 24-22 21-17 in a quarterfinal match that lasted 42 minutes.
Arjun and Jolly will face compatriots and seventh seeded pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto in the semifinals.
In one of the best results of the day from an Indian standpoint, Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand stunned the second seeds from Russia (world No 39) in the women’s doubles quarterfinals in straight games.
Later in the day, Arjun and Dhruv Kapila won a thrilling three-game battle against seventh seeds Fabien Delrue/William Villeger of France. It was a terrific match to finish the quarterfinals day in Lucknow and it saw Arjun reach semifinals in both mixed and men’s doubles.
Krishna-Vishnu will face another Indian pair of Prem Singh Chouhan and Rajesh Verma in the semifinals while Arjun-Dhruv face Malaysia’s Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee.
In the women’s doubles quarterfinals, India’s Ramya Venkatesh Chickmenahalli and Apeksha Nayak conceded a walkover to the eight seeded Malaysian pair of Anna Ching Yik Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing.
There were two quarterfinals that did not take place. Part of Malaysian mixed doubles second seeded pair, Chen Tang Jae was one of the Covid-19 positive cases, resulting in a walkover to T Hema Nagendra Babu and Srivedya Gurazada. Apeksha Nayak was the other Covid-19 positive case on the day, as per the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Association’s press statement.
(With PTI inputs)