India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty earned another impressive comeback win to reach the men’s doubles quarterfinals at the Hylo Open Super 300 badminton tournament in Saarbrücken, Germany, on Thursday.
Joining them in the quarters was the young Indian women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, who showed great composure to close out a tight match in straight games. Malvika Bansod also secured a berth in the quarterfinals after defeating Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour 24-22, 19-7* in the women’s singles match. Later i the night, former world No 1 Srikanth Kidambi also made it to the last eight.
Gilmour led the first game 20-17 but the Indian claimed the lead and eventually bounced back with a 24-22 scoreline in the first game. Bansod then cruised through the second game, with Gilmour eventually retiring towards the end, signalling an injury.
This was Bansod’s biggest win on the international circuit till date, defeating a world ranked top 20 player for the first time. She had earlier defeated Saina Nehwal at the start of the year during India Open.
It was, however, curtains for Aakarshi Kashyap in the women’s singles, the women’s doubles pair of Rutaparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda and the men’s doubles pair of Vishnu Vardhan Goud and Krishna Prasad Garaga.
Satwik-Chirag had come from a game down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Lee Yang and Lu Chen and on Thursday, they did the same to beat England’s Zach Russ and Rory Easton and reach the quarters.
Having recently won the French Open Super 750 title, the top-ranked Indian men’s doubles pair went down in the opening game after saving two game points and squandering one of their own. But they regrouped themselves and fought back strongly to complete a 22-24, 21-15, 21-11 victory.
Treesa-Gayatri faced a stiff challenge from the Dutch pair of Debora Jille and Cheryl Seinen. Both games were neck-and-neck for the most part but it was the Indians who emerged victorious 21-18, 21-19.
The two 19-year-olds, who won the bronze medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games earlier this year, were calm throughout and won four straight points at the end to seal their spot in the women’s doubles quarters. They had earlier defeated the European Championships silver medallists Lohau-Efler in opening round.
Later in the day, Vishnu Vardhan Goud-Krishna Prasad Garaga lost to Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup 21-17, 21-13 in the men’s doubles round of 16 match. The 2nd seeds were in control for most part of the match.
In women’s singles, Kashyap was up against Denmark’s Line Højmark Kjærsfeldt in the round of 16 and lost in straight games. Till the second game interval, it seemed the Indian could force a decider. But her opponent ran away with the contest from there and notched up a 21-13, 21-14 win in 35 minutes.
In another women’s doubles match, Rutaparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda lost in straight games against Hu Ling-fang and Lin Xiao-Min. The pair from Chinese Taipei was in cruise control in the second game and won 21-16, 21-7 to reach the quarterfinals.
In the last match of the day, Kidambi Srikanth booked his spot in the quarterfinal with a 11-21, 21-13, 21-10 win over Arnaud Merkle of France.
The Indian started off brightly, taking a 7-2 lead before Merkle bounced back and took the opening game, banking on a flurry of errors from Srikanth. But the former world No 1 regrouped and then used all his experience to dictate play and found his rhythm as he eventually won the match that lasted 50 minutes. The second and third games were a breeze only when he controlled the shuttle better.
Satwik-Chirag next face seventh seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy while Gayatri-Treesa take on Hsu Ya Ching and Lin Wan Ching from Chinese Taipei.
Bansod’s quarterfinal opponent is world No 21 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung from Indonesia who was involved in a three-game thriller against Pornpawee Chochuwong.
Srikanth will next face Jonatan Christie, the Indonesian sixth seed and world No 7. It is a rematch of the third and deciding match in the historic Thomas Cup final earlier this year. The two have a Head-to-Head of 5-5.