PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth registered contrasting victories over local opponents to reach the quarter-finals of the Japan Open Super 750 badminton tournament in Tokyo on Thursday.
Sindhu, the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament runner-up, rallied back from a game down against world No 20 Aya Ohori to win 11-21, 21-10, 21-15 while Praneeth defeated Kanta Tsuneyama 21-13, 21-16 in 45 minutes.
Having failed to clear the second round at the Japan Open in her five earlier attempts, Sindhu was once again under pressure as she struggled to find any rhythm in the opening game. The left-handed Japanese shuttler constantly foxed the 24-year-old Indian with her cross-court shots.
But once the players changed ends, it was Sindhu who went on the offensive, hitting the shuttle down and forcing Ohori to come up with a better plan. That did not happen and the Indian went into the decider high on confidence.
The 24-year-old started the decider in a similar manner and had raced to a 8-4 lead before Ohori managed to level the scores with an intelligent plan. However, that was the only positive for the Japanese, who has now lost eight straight matches against the Indian as Sindhu wrapped up the match on second match point.
She will now face fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi in the quarter-final on Thursday: a rematch of the Indonesia Open final on Sunday. This will the be 16th meeting between the two on the BWF circuit, with Sindhu leading the head-to-head 10-5.
Yamaguchi had ended a run of four successive defeats against Sindhu in Jakarta with her aggressive performance and Sindhu will have to overcome the former world No 1 at her own backyard. Yamaguchi defeated Chen Xiao Xin 21-15, 21-14 in 44 minutes in her round of 16 clash.
Earlier in the day, Sai Praneeth got the better of a second Japanese shuttler in two days to set up a quarter-final clash against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.
Also advancing to the quarter-finals was the men’s doubles combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who defeated China’s Kai Xiang Huang and Cheng Liu 15-21, 21-11, 21-19.
However, it was end of the road for HS Prannoy, who had defeated Kidambi Srikanth in the first round. The Indian struggled through out the 47-minute encounter against Rasmus Gemke, going down 21-9, 21-15.
Later in the day, Satwiksairaj and Ashwini Ponnappa lost in the mixed doubles against Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-16, 21-17. The fourth seeds from Thailand needed just 39 minutes to wrap up that match.