In the battle between two Indian players, former world No 1 Kidambi Srikanth came out on top. The 30-year-old came up with a straight-game 21-15, 21-12 win over B Sai Praneeth at the Spain Masters Super 300 event in Madrid on Thursday to go through to the men’s singles quarterfinals.
Joining Srikanth in the last eight, was PV Sindhu, who reached the quarterfinals on the World Tour for the first time in 2023. After a repeat of the first-round fixture in Basel against Jenjir Stadelmann, it was a repeat of the second-round fixture for Sindhu as she once again took on Putri Kusuma Wardani. But this time around, the Indian managed to reverse the result, winning in straight games to progress.
However, only the two of them progressed among Indians on an otherwise disappointing day.
A day earlier, Srikanth had to work hard to come up with the win in a thrilling 21-11, 25-27, 23-21 contest against Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin in a match that lasted 65-minutes.
But Srikanth recovered from that scare well to finish off his match on Thursday against the 2019 World Championship bronze-medallist in 36 minutes.
In the opening game, Srikanth took a solid 12-6 lead but Sai Praneeth launched a strong comeback to level proceedings at 12-12 and 15-15. But that’s where the Guntur-native turned the screws and won the next six points on the trot to win the first game.
The second game was far more straight-forward. The due were tied at 2-2 and 3-3 before Srikanth started to dominate proceedings and eventually closed out the tie on his second match point opportunity.
Srikanth will next face top seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan. Even though the Japanese is ranked higher and in better form, Srikanth has a 5-2 lead in Head-to-Head.
Sindhu in last eight
In her second meeting against Putri, Sindhu started off aggressively and led throughout the opening game. The second game was a closer battle but Sindhu clawed her way into the lead, showing good net-play and also lunging well. The Indonesian youngster, ranked 38 in the world and the winner of this title in 2021, managed to engage Sindhu in longer rallies and force errors in Basel but Sindhu was solid in rallying too.
The Indian will now face Mia Blichfedt of Denmark, against whom she has a head-to-head of 5-1.
Elsewhere, Kiran George’s run came to an end in the Round of 16. He loses 17-21, 12-21 to Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen. Priyanshu Rajawat had a tough test against Toma Junior Popov of France, the 8th seed and his run from qualification came to a close as the Frenchman outmuscled the Indian youngster. Also bowing out was Sameer Verma, who started well against Kanta Tsuneyama but the second seed from Japan powered through in straight games.
In doubles, Arathi Sara Sunil and Sikki Reddy, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also bowed out in straight games.
Aakarshi Kashyap, a day after her big win against Michelle Li, also bowed out in straight games in the round of 16. Natsuki Nidaira wins 21-13, 21-8.
Malvika Bansod’s reward for her round of 32 win was a clash against home favourite and top seed Carolina Marin in the second round but the Indian has been listed as giving a walkover.