Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy caused a huge upset by knocking out the sixth seeds and world No 18 pair of Li Wenmei and Zheng Yu 22-20, 21-19 to enter the second round of the India Open World Tour 500, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Considering the Chinese reached the quarter-finals of the All England Open and the semi-finals of the Swiss Open, this was a highly confidence-boosting victory for the Indian pair.
The 23rd ranked Ponnappa and Reddy thus continue their good form a week after reaching the quarter-finals of the Swiss Open.
Meanwhile, eight singles players and 10 doubles teams from India secured berths in the main draw as the qualifying rounds got completed on Tuesday. Third seed Rahul Yadav Chittaboina and fourth seed Siddharath Thakur led the march of the Indians in men’s singles along with Kartik Jindal while veteran Pranaav Jerry Chopra made it through to the main draw of men’s doubles in partnership with Shivam Sharma.
World No 257 Jindal hardly broke a sweat in dismissing the 365th ranked Pavel Kotsarenko in the first round. He was then made to work hard by the spirited Sarath Dunna, No 814, who had knocked out the 210th ranked Yehezkiel Fritz Mainaky, 21-9, 17-21, 21-16 in his opening round.
Dunna showed the same resolve against Jindal before going down 12-21, 23-21, 19-21 in a tight contest that lasted 53 minutes.
Following the marathon, the 20-year-old Jindal stressed on the importance of recovering well before his first round clash with seventh seed Khosit Phetpradab. “I feel delighted qualifying for the main draw but need to recover from today’s play for tomorrow’s match against Khosit from Thailand.”
Chittaboina recorded a 21-14, 21-15 victory over Anant Shivam Jindal to qualify for the main draw. Thakur was equally impressive in his 21-6, 21-13 win over Gurpartap Singh Dhaliwal and was joined by Kartikey Gulshan Kumar.
In women’s singles, Ritika Thaker, Prashi Joshi, Riya Mookerjee, and Vaidehi Choudhari progressed. While Thaker will face eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt, Joshi and Choudhari have tough opposition in the form of third seed He Bingjiao and seventh seed Han Yue respectively.
Chopra/Sharma breeze through
Pranaav Jerry Chopra, one-half of India’s No 2 mixed doubles team, had an easy outing in the qualifiers alongside Shivam Sharma. Chopra and Sharma needed just 19 minutes to prevail over Vikas Chauhan and Sandeep Choudhary 21-10, 21-5. In women’s doubles, Megha Morchana Bora and Manali Sinha staved off stiff resistance from Anamika Kashyap and Sanghamitra Saikia to register a 24-22, 21-13 win.
In mixed doubles, Aparna Balan and Mohamed Muanis went down to the experienced Hong Kong pair of Tang Chun Man and NG Tsz Yau.
The main draw action at this World Tour 500 tournament starts on Wednesday. 2017 champion PV Sindhu starts her campaign against compatriot Mugdha Agrey. 2015 winner Kidambi Srikanth meets the tricky Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the first round while fifth seed Sameer Verma has Rasmus Gemke of Denmark first up.
Rahul Yadav Chittaboina (IND) bt Anant Shivam Jindal (IND) 21-14, 21-15
Siddharath Thakur (IND) bt Gurpratap Singh Dhaliwal (IND) 21-6, 21-13
Kartik Jindal (IND) bt Sarath Dunna (IND) 21-12, 21-23, 21-19
Pranaav Jerry Chopra (IND)/Shivam Sharma (IND) bt Vikas Chauhan (IND)/Sandeep Chaudhary (IND) 21-10, 21-5
Megha Morchana Bora (IND) /Manali Sinha (IND) bt Anamika Kashyap (IND)/Sanghamitra Saikia (IND) 24-22, 21-13