Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their superb run in Paris while Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu were knocked out of the $700,000 French Open in Paris on Friday.
Sindhu was involved a high-quality thriller against world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying. After losing the opener, the Indian saved a match point in the second game before forcing a decider but the Chinese Taipei shuttler proved too good in the closing stages to win 16-21, 26-24, 17-21 in 75 minutes.
A day after stunning the reigning World Champions in the round of 16, Satwik and Chirag accounted for another higher-ranked pair as they knocked out world No 9 Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen from Denmark 21-13, 22-20 in 39 minutes.
The first game was a relatively straightforward affair for the Indians, who made a fast start and held on to their advantage through till the end. In the second game, Astrup and Rasmussen who made an adjustment to their games found the ranges on their smashes to go into early leads but the Indian pair never let the Danes get away. It was Satwik and Chirag, the Thailand Open champions, who take an 11-10 lead into the break.
In the later part of the game, errors started creeping in for Chirag Shetty (called thrice for service faults) as the Danes fought back and had a game point at 20-19. But the Indian youngsters held their nerves to save that and converted their first match point.
The world No 11 pair will now take on Endo / Watanabe of Japan.
Nehwal’s tournament came to an end after going down in straight games against Korea’s An Se Young in the women’s singles quarter-finals
The 29-year-old Indian, who had claimed the Indonesia Masters in January this year, lost 20-22, 21-23 to world no 16 Young after a thrilling 49-minute contest at the BWF World Tour Super 750 event.
For Young, the upcoming South Korean sensation, it was the second big win in two weeks after she had eliminated PV Sindhu in the second round of Denmark Open.
It was Nehwal’s first quarter-final appearance since making it to the final eight at the Badminton Asia Championship in April this year. Nehwal had lost in the first round in the last three tournaments at China, Korea and Denmark.
The eighth seed fell back early in the opening game with Young opening up a 7-2 lead. The Indian slowly narrowed the gap to 7-8 and had grabbed a slender 15-12 lead for a brief period at one stage but the Korean soon clawed her way back.
Young reached 18-15 but a fighting Nehwal was the first to have a game point at 20-19 but the Korean eventually pocketed the game with three straight points.
In the second game, Young again surged to a 5-2 lead before the former world No 1 turned the tables, moving to 7-5 but the Korean soon stepped on the gas and jumped to a 16-11 lead.
The experienced Nehwal once again drew parity at 18-18 but Young managed to have two match points from there.
The Indian then reeled off three straight points, letting off a big roar as she saved the second match point with a drop shot, to make it 21-20 but once again it was Young who held her nerves to move ahead and shut the door on her fancied rival.
Nehwal, who had reached the final of the French Open in 2012, is expected to play at the Saarlorlux Open starting October 29 next.