B Sai Praneeth was the only Indian victor on Thursday as he made his way to the quarter-finals of the prestigious China Open Super 1000 badminton tournament in Changzhou.
The 27-year-old defeated China’s Lu Guang Zu 21-19, 21-19 in a hard-fought encounter on a day to forget for Indian shuttlers.
Praneeth, who won the bronze medal at the Badminton World Championships earlier this year, will now face the winner of the match between compatriot Parupalli Kashyap and Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
In the women’s singles competition, though, PV Sindhu suffered a heartbreaking second-round loss. The reigning world champion went down 12-21, 21-13, 21-19 to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong.
Sindhu won the first game comfortably but Chochuwong raised her level from there on. The Thai took the second game without much trouble but it looked like just a hiccup when the Indian opened up a 12-7 lead in the decider and was just two points away from victory with a comfortable lead of 19-15.
However, the 21-year-old Chochuwong put on a stunning comeback to win the next six points and clinch the match. She will now face Chinese third seed Chen Yufei in the quarter-finals.
For Sindhu, it was a case of lack of aggression costing her a match she should’ve won. This, however, wasn’t the only setback India faced on Thursday.
In the men’s doubles, India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went down in straight games to Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
Satwik and Chirag, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against their fourth-seeded opponents and went down 19-21, 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.
This is the second time Satwik and Chirag have lost to the combination of Kamura and Sonoda this year. They had lost to the world No 4 pair at the Japan Open in July.
Satwik then teamed up with Ashwini Ponnappa and suffered a second-round defeat in the mixed doubles competition. The Indian duo fought hard but went down 11-21, 21-16, 12-21 to Japan’s Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo.
Later in the day Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy were defeated by the Japanese second seeds Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahasi 12-21, 17-21. The match lasted 39 minutes.
The day ended in a defeat for the Indian contingent as P Kashyap’s fighting effort against seventh seed Anthony Ginting proved in vain. The former CWG champion pushed Ginting all the way before losing 21-23, 21-15, 12-21 in a 71-minute marathon.
Sai Praneeth is now the sole Indian remaining in the fray and he will face Ginting next.