Hyderabad Hunters

Sindhu, Sai into the QFs of the BWF World Championships

By: Editor
Date: 23 Aug, 2019
Image Courtesy: Hyderabad Hunters

PV Sindhu & Sai Praneeth produced the kind of performances you remember for a long long time, as both advanced to the QFs of the Total BWF World Championships here in Basel, Switzerland.

Saina Nehwal won the opening game, before losing a hard fought second one and going down in the third, while HS Prannoy briefly threatened Kento Momota and Kidambi Srikanth also losing his pre-QF match against 12th seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen.

HS Prannoy was the first of the Indians on court and he stayed on the coattails of the world number #1 for most part of the first game. At 19-apiece Prannoy had his opportunity to take the opening game and but the Japanese under pressure but Momota took the initiative and sealed the opening game in his favor.

The second game was a little more open for Momota, as he opened up an early lead and went on to capitalize on it, leading 11-5 at the interval. Prannoy couldn’t quite find his rhythm and went on to lose 21-19 21-12 in just a shade under an hour.

With compatriot Prannoy out, Sai Praneeth was the next man on court to take on the Indonesian #2 Anthony Sinsuka Ginting. The prodigiously talented, world #8, Ginting was tipped to pose a stiff challenge to Praneeth and many even wondered if the Indian could beat him – this despite the fact that Sai does have a good head-to-head recording against his opponent.

The match was a see-saw battle, with both players going shot-for-shot and not backing down from taking the occasional risk. Anthony opened up an early 3-0 lead, but then Sai came back to wrest the initiative 3-4, and the back and forth went on up to 15-all. Anthony Ginting made his move, reeling three points of the bounce and reached two points shy of the opening game at 19-17.

Sai Praneeth wasn’t giving it up all too easily, as he took four points on the bounce himself and stunned the Indonesian, taking the opening game, and with it the advantage.

The opening game win really boosted Sai’s confidence, as he leapt to a 6-2 lead in the opening exchanges of the second game. But Anthony roared back into contention as he took the leading going into the mid-game interval 8-11. But Sai was having none of it, as he put together a string of 8 points to leave the Indonesian on the brink.

At 21-19 21-12, the score line may be a touch misleading, but the match was a wholesome entertainer and Sai Praneeth, at the end, it must be said bossed it.

The final match-up for the Indian contingent in the men’s singles was Kidambi Srikanth against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand. Srikanth made a confident start, taking the first couple of points but then it was Kantaphon all the way for the rest of the game. He opened up a healthy advantage at 6-2, and then stayed well ahead for the remainder of the game. Game two had a similar storyline, as the Thai player never let Srikanth settle down and play his natural game. At 21-14 21-13, Srikanth lost his pre-QF match up.

Over to the women’s singles and it was PV Sindhu taking on Beiwen Zhang of the USA, in a highly anticipated clash. Beiwen was expected to provide Sindhu a stiff challenge, but Sindhu had completely different ideas as she went on the rampage from the word go, and never really allowed her opponent to settle down into a rhythm.

Playing exceptionally well from the net and the mid-court, Sindhu trailed 2-5 in the opening exchanges, but then came back from behind to take a 11-7 lead going into the mid-game interval. Post-interval, Sindhu wasn’t going to let up and snuffed out any chances of a comeback for Beiwen.

The first game loss, seriously dented Beiwen’s confidence, and she never quite turned up for game two, Sindhu meanwhile was brimming with confidence. She stormed to a 6-1 lead and capitalized it into a 11-3 advantage by the mid-game break.

Sindhu eventually won the game 21-14 21-6, in utterly dominating fashion. And takes on Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei for a place in the final four. And in this kind of form, you can surely expect that to be a titanic clash.

In the final game for the Indians on Day 4, Saina Nehwal went up against Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark. After the opening exchanges, Saina opened up a slender advantage, which she pressed further to lead 11-5 by the mid-game interval. Mia found it difficult to find her range, and eventually lost the opening game 21-15.

The second game was on a proverbial knife’s edge, as neither player allowed the other to run away with it. For the entire game, neither player had more than a two-point advantage. At 21-20, Saina did have a match point saved as Mia took the hard-fought game 25-27. This game took its toll on Saina, as she barely threatened in the final game which Mia won to take the match 15-21 27-25 21-12.

So, with four days of action behind us and the QFs to take place on Friday, the Indian team just has two players in contention. While, it’s a little disappointing, but with Sindhu & Sai showing the kind of form they did in the pre-quarters, you wouldn’t bet against them going much further in the tournament.

Share this post with your friends

Visitors Guru
Most Viewed
Stay Connected