Badminton Worlds: Saina, Sindhu, Ashwini-Satwik, Praneeth in quarters

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Nanjing (China), Aug 2 (IANS) India’s Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, B. Sai Praneeth and the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa advanced to the quarter-finals, while Kidambi Srikanth suffered an upset in the pre-quarterfinals of the Badminton World Championships here on Thursday.

Saina defeated Thai fourth seeded Ratchanok Intanon 21-16, 21-19 in 47 minutes to enter the women’s singles quarter-finals for a championship record eighth consecutive time.

Saina took her time to settle down and Intanon gave her a tough time in the early stages of the opening game. Intanon was leading 8-5 at one point, but Saina took six consecutive points to take the lead.

The Indian, a two-time World Championships medallist, continued to dominate after the break to take the first game by a comfortable margin.

The second game was a tighter affair with both players fighting neck and neck till the very end. But with the scores tied at 19-19, Saina took two back to back points to clinch the issue.

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“Everywhere she was playing all those difficult shots that I have seen Ratchanok playing. I would say after 19 all, those two points I think Gopi Sir really played a big role there,” she said.

“With those two points the strategy really mattered, the way he told me what to do and I just followed that I think the game really turned into my favour, but i would say the last two points were all about strategy.”

Third seeded Sindhu followed Saina’s path to the last eight round after moving past South Korean ninth seed Sung ji Hyun 21-10, 21-18 in 42 minutes.

Sindhu caught a brilliant start, going 9-1 up in no time. Even though Sung improved her game after the mid-game interval, Sindhu held an 18-8 lead before pocketing the game 21-10.

In the second game, Sung looked determined, opening up a 9-2 lead. But Sindhu slowly picked momentum and equalised at the 13-point mark before leading 18-15. Sung continued to slide as she lost the second game 18-21.

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“Overall it was a good match and there were lot of rallies so I had to be consistent and very patient,” the Indian, three-time medallist at the World Championships, said.

In the quarter-finals on Friday, Saina and Sindhu will meet Spanish seventh seed Carolina Marin and defending champion Nozomi Okuhara respectively. While two-time world champion Carolina defeated 15th seed Sayaka Sato of Japan 21-7, 21-13 in the third round, Okhuhara got past Goh Jin Wei 21-18, 22-20.

Chinese Taipei top seed Tai Tzu Ying will meet Chinese sixth seed He Bingjiao for a place in the semi-finals.

In the men’s singles, world No.39 Daren Liew of Malaysian upset fifth seeded Srikanth 18-21, 18-21 in 41 minutes. Liew upped the ante just after the mid-game interval in the first game, taking a 17-11 lead which proved vital as he won 21-18.

The second game witnessed a see-saw battle but Liew orchestrated a superb finish by winning three consecutive game when they were tied 18-18.

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However, world No.26 B. Sai Praneeth brought cheers to the Indian camp by defeating No.23 Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark 21-13, 21-11 in 39 minutes.

In the quarter-finals on Friday, Praneeth will take on Japanese rising star Kento Momota, who defeated Denmark’s 16th seed Anders Antonsen 13-21, 21-17, 21-8.

Chinese legend Lin Dan suffered a 15-21, 9-21 defeat to compatriot third seed Shi Yuqi, who will meet Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen on Friday.

Defending champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, two-time champion Chen Long will face-off in the Round-of-eight.

In the mixed doubles, unseeded mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini upset Malaysian seventh seeds Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai 20-22, 21-14, 21-6 in 59 minutes.

In the quarter-finals, Satwik-Ashwini will run into Chinese top seeds Zheng Siwei and

Huang Yaqiong, who overcame Indonesian 12th seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-15, 21-13.

–IANS

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