A day after upsetting world No 5 in mixed doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy paired up with Chirag Shetty to overcome the world No 7 men’s doubles pairing to progress to the quarter-finals at the Thailand Open in Bangkok on Thursday.
Satwik and Shetty registered a straight-game 21-17 21-19 win over the Indonesian combination of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, who are the reigning Asian Games silver medallists. The India duo will next play qualifiers Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae of Korea on Friday.
This was the first win for the Satwik-Chirag against the Indonesian duo in their third meeting.
The day got better for Satwik as he progressed in mixed doubles as well. After their big win on Wednesday, Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik registered a more routine performance in the round of 16 to progress in Bangkok. The duo overcame No 27 Alfian Prasetya and Marsheilla Islami in straight games 21-18, 21-19.
Ashwini and Satwik will face third seeds Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino (Japan) in the last eight while Satwik and Chirag will take on qualifiers Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae (South Korea).
However, there was not much good news for India in the singles events.
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s return to the court was short-lived as she was knocked out in the second round, stunned by unseeded Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the women’s singles event in Bangkok on Thursday.
Seventh seed Nehwal, who returned to action after nearly two months, squandered a game advantage to lose 21-16, 11-21, 14-21 against world No 18 Takahashi in a second round duel that lasted 48 minutes.
In the absence of PV Sindhu, who withdrew at the last minute from the event, Nehwal’s ouster marks the end of India’s campaign in the women’s singles. And the former world No 1 had herself to blame as her game was littered with unforced errors.
Nehwal had earlier made last-minute withdrawals from the Indonesia Open and last week’s Japan Open because of injuries.
It was a similar story for Kidambi Srikanth as well, and the fifth seed’s poor form continued in Bangkok. Srikanth also lost his pre-quarterfinal in three games after winning the opening game. Unseeded Khosit Phetpradab won 11-21, 21-16, 21-12 against the Indian.
That was followed by the ouster of Parupalli Kashyap, who lost to the third seed (and in-form) Chou Tien Chen 9-21, 14-21. The Chinese Taipei shuttler had won the Indonesia Open a fortnight back.
HS Prannoy’s defeat capped off a disappointing day for India’s singles players as he went down in straight games 17-21, 10-21 against sixth seed Kenta Nishimoto.
The only win from the singles categories on the day came when B Sai Praneeth defeated his compatriot Shubankar Dey in straight games in 41 mins. The world No 19 needed 42 minutes to win 21-18, 21-19.
Sai Praneeth will face Kanta Tsuneyama (seventh seed) in the quarter-final.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy’s campaign in mixed doubles also came to an end as they lost against eighth seeds Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet 16-21, 11-21.