PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and doubles pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy were the Indian shuttlers to register wins at the round of 16 stage of the All England Open Championships on Thursday in Birmingham.
Rising Indian shuttler Sen progressed to his first quarter-finals at the prestigious Super 1000 event with a straight-games win against Thomas Rouxel.
Sindhu, the reigning world champion, stayed on course for a shot at the All England title too as she recorded a dominant 21-8, 21-8 win over Denmark’s Line Christophersen in a lop-sided second-round match.
Sindhu will take on Japan’s third seed Akane Yamaguchi in what promises to be a cracking quarterfinal.
However, there was disappointment for Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty as the men’s doubles pairing suffered back-to-back defeats against the Danish pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen. The Danes had defeated the Indian duo on way to their title win at the Swiss Open earlier this month. Satwik-Chirag lost 21-16 11-21 21-17 in 63 minutes.
There was disappointment in two other Indo-Danish affairs as well with B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma not capitalising on promising positions against Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen.
Against third seed Antonsen, Verma led 20-16 in the first game and led 9-7 in the second game but it was the Dane who finished strongly with six straight points in the opener and 14 out of last 15 points in the second to win the match 22-20, 21-10.
Sai Praneeth’s wait for a win against the Danish star Axelsen on BWF tour continued. He had a headstart in the match but could not make the most of it. Axelsen won 15-21, 21-12, 21-12 in 52 minutes.
For HS Prannoy, however, it was the end of the road at the event after he went down in straight games in the men’s singles second round against top seed Kento Momota in an entertaining match.
The 19-year-old Lakshya, who had claimed five titles on the BWF tour in 2019, saw off France’s Rouxel 21-18, 21-16 in a match the Indian would have expected to win. Sen became the youngest Indian male shuttler to reach the All England Championship quarterfinals, reported PTI.
The pleasant surprise for the Indian contingent on Thursday was Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy’s win in the women’s doubles. The Indian duo defeated sixth seeds from Bulgaria Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva 21-17, 21-10. Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen, the world No 24 from Netherlands, will be up next for the Indian women’s doubles pairing.
Lakshya, who had claimed the Asian Junior Championships title, the World Junior championships bronze and Youth Olympics Games silver in 2018, will next face Netherland’s Mark Caljouw who defeated Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen. Incidentally, Nguyen has knocked out Srikanth Kidambi on day one.
After the Indonesian team’s forced withdrawal last night (Anthony Ginting was supposed to face Thomas Rouxel), Srikanth’s defeat and Sen’s own win against world No 18 Wangchaoren in the first round, the draw opened up for the Indian youngster. To back up a memorable debut in Birmingham in 2020, where he pushed Viktor Axelsen to the limits, Sen now has a chance to go all the way till semis.
Earlier, in what turned out to be a rather stroke-filled match, Prannoy went down fighting in straight games. A former top 10 player, Prannoy couldn’t find his way across the defence of Momota, with the Japanese looking in great touch playing his first event since a horrific accident that saw him undergo a eye surgery last year.
The Indian lost 15-21, 14-21 in a 48-minute match to bow out of the competition.
Also ousted from the tournament was the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, who lost 19-21, 9-21 to Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo in the opening round. The Japanese duo, ranked 23 in the world, were involved in a tough battle in the early stages of the match but just ran away with it from the second half of the opener.
All England Open, day one results and report here.
Detailed updates of India’s matches on day two in Birmingham available here.
Full results and schedule of Indian contingent at All England available here.
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