India’s good run in the singles draw continued as Saina Nehwal and B Sai Praneeth pulled off contrasting wins to begin day three at the BWF World Championships in Glasgow on Wednesday. Srikanth Kidambi and Ajay Jayaram also joined the duo in progressing to the third round with a routine win in their matches.
It was overall a good day for India despite Sameer Verma, Tanvi Lad, Rituparna Das and the women’s doubles teams bowing out of the tournament.
The 15th seed Sai Praneeth defeated Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 in a 72-minute thriller. He was not off to the best of starts, trailing 0-8 in the first game but started to pull things a bit before eventually losing the opener 14-21. After a long discussion with his coach during the break, Sai Praneeth started to turn things around, taking the second game and forcing the decider. It did not look good for the Indian, with Ginting racing to a 18-12 lead but Sai Praneeth pulled off eight straight points in a row before wrapping up the game and match.
On the other hand, 12th seed Saina, playing her first match of the tournament after receiving a first round bye, hit the ground running to establish a healthy 7-0 win in the first game, before wrapping it up 21-11 in 14 minutes. The second game started a little tighter, but at 0-1 and 1-2 were the only instances that Saina trailed her Swiss opponent. In the end, the match was wrapped up in just 33 minutes.
Second seed Sung Ji Hyung awaits in round three after she defeated India’s Tanvi Lad in her second round fixture. Lad lost the first game convincingly but went toe to toe in the second, before losing 9-21, 19-21. This defeat was India’s first defeat in the tournament in the singles section.
Saina enjoys a 7-2 head-to-head record against the world No. 2 from South Korea. Sixth seed Chou Tien Chen or Marc Zwiebler await Sai Praneeth in the next round.
Srikanth, India’s top medal prospect and the in-form player on the men’s circuit, took just 32 minutes to ease past Frenchman Lucas Corvee 21-9, 21-17. The first game was a cakewalk for Srikanth but the Corvee staged a comeback in the second. From 15-15, however, Srikanth wrestled back the control to end up as the deserving winner.
The world No. 8 will now face 14th seed Anders Antonsen in the next round.
Latest round of matches:
World No. 17 Ajay was the only late winner for India as he overcame Dutchman Mark Caljouw 21-13, 21-18 in 33 minutes to set up a mouth-watering pre-quarter final clash with Olympic Champion Chen Long.
Sameer, who was up against European champion Rajiv Ouseph, fell apart in the second game with a slew errors despite starting the match well – losing 22-20, 21-9 in 43 minutes.
The most heart-breaking result of the day was the defeat of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy in the second round, as they went down fighting to the second seeds from Denmark, Juhl and Pedersen. After losing a very tight first game that lasted for more than 30 minutes, the Indian duo took the second game but lost out in the decider to lose 22-24, 21-17, 15-21 in 72 minutes.
Sanjana Santhosh and Arathi Sara Sunil lost their second round fixture, while Rituparna went down fighting to the sixteenth seed Kristy Gilmour from Scotland 16-21, 13-21.