In what turned out to be a mixed day for the Indian contingent at the ongoing BWF Badminton World Championships, only two of the five Indian shuttlers – B Sai Praneeth and PV Sindhu – managed to book their places in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
As they aim for a spot in the semi-finals on Friday, both Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth are facing high-ranked opponents in the quarters. Two-time silver medallist Sindhu faces second seed Tai Tzu Ying while Sai Praneeth takes on fourth seed Jonatan Christie.
Sindhu produced yet another commanding performance as she defeated Beiwen Zhang of the United States in straight games. However, Saina Nehwal could not convert two match points for a straight-game win before losing to world No 12 Mia Blichfeldt 21-15, 25-27, 12-21 in a 72-minute encounter.
In the men’s singles, B Sai Praneeth dished out a superlative performance to stun world No 8 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and progress to the quarters but Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy suffered defeats.
Here’s a look at the schedule of the two Indian shuttlers in action on Friday:
B Sai Praneeth (TV Court 2)
World No 19. Praneeth, who had reached the finals at Swiss Open this year, took just 42 minutes to dispatch sixth-seeded Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 21-19 21-13. In the quarter-final, he will face another Indonesian Jonatan Christie, the fourth seed and reigning Asian Games champion.
On paper, it’s a tough draw for Praneeth, who is ranked 15 places below against Christie. But if he can show the same composure and grit as he displayed in the match against Ginting, he could well pull off another upset.
Opponent’s rank: 4
Estimated time: Around 4.30 pm IST
Head-to-head: B Sai Praneeth 1 - 2 Jonatan Christie
PV Sindhu (TV court 1)
Sindhu made light work of Beiwen Zhang in a contest that lasted just 34 minutes. But as good touch as the world No 5 is in, she faces a tough task next taking on second seed Tai Tzu Ying next.
The Taiwanese had beaten Sindhu at the Asian Games final last year and has a dominant head-to-head record against the Indian. Sindhu has beaten her only on four occasions in their previous 14 meetings.
Sindhu can, however, take heart from the fact that Tai Tzu Ying looked shaky in her round of 16 match against Kim Ga Eun, where she won 24-22, 24-22.
Opponent’s rank: 2
Estimated time: Around 4 pm IST
Head-to-head: Sindhu 4 - 10 Tzu Ying