The Week

Sai Praneeth beats Lin Dan on Day 1 of the Denmark Open 2019

By: Editor
Date: 16 Oct, 2019
Image Courtesy: The Week
B Sai Praneeth is enjoying a purple patch in his career and it continued on day one of the Danisa Denmark Open 2019, as he notched up his first career win over five-time world champion Lin Dan.

Sai hadn’t beaten the Olympic Gold Medallist in his previous encounters and certainly was the underdog going into the contest. However, a confident start opened up a slender 5-2 advantage for the bronze medallist at the world championships this year. Sai consistently stayed ahead of his more illustrious opponent and further consolidated his lead with a string of four-straight points to lead 16-10, midway through the opening game.

Another four-point run at the business end of the opening game ensured that Sai would at least push Lin Dan into three games to take the match. 

The second game was a lot more competitive, at times even a bit scrappy as both players remained within touching distance of each other. At 16-all both Sai & Lin Dan had the opportunity to take the game, and it was Sai who made the move with another 4-point streak to close the match 21-14 21-17.

A fantastic start for Sai Praneeth and will give him a lot of confidence to make a deep run in here at Odense.

Parupalli Kashyap & Sourabh Verma were the other Indian men’s singles players in contention but couldn’t make it to the second round. Kashyap lost to Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 21-13 21-12, while Sourabh Verma was beaten by Mark Caljouw in three games 19-21 21-11 21-17.

In the women’s singles, PV Sindhu was giving a bit of a run around by Indonesian challenger Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The world champion, however, eventually prevailed and made her way into the second round with a 22-20 21-18 win, in a contest that lasted just a shade under 40 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Satwik Sairaj & Chirag Shetty gave the Indian contingent a perfect start with a sensational win over the Korean pair Lee Yong Dae & Kim Ji Jung. Satwik/Chirag trailed for much of the opening game but then stormed back in the second half of the game to tie the contest at 22-all. Satwik, particularly, looked like he was struggling with his serve but then managed to hold his nerve to take the game. 

The second game was much easier for the Indian pair, as they opened up a commanding lead from the word go, and eventually closed the match 24-22 21-11.

Sikki Reddy & Ashwini Ponnappa had a tough draw against top seeds, Mayu Matsumoto & Wakana Nagahara. Sikki/Ashwini made a bright start leading 8-1 in the opening exchanges but then lost the initiatives as the Japanese pair made an inspired comeback to take the tight opening game, having saved a couple of game points. 

The second game was an equally tight contest with both teams refusing to give the other even an inch. Once again, however, the Japanese seized the big moments and closed out the game 25-23 21-18. The Indians surely had their chances, and on another day could well have caused an upset.

Looking forward to the second day at the Denmark Open Super 750, Srikanth Kidambi is expected make his much-awaited return from injury, he will be up against 4th seed Anders Antonsen. While, Sameer Verma will play Kanta Tsuneyama. In the women’s singles Saina Nehwal will be in action as she takes on Sayaka Takahashi on court #2.

In doubles action, we’ll see the mixed doubles pair of Sikki Reddy & Pranav Jerry Chopra taking on the German challengers Marvin Seidel & Linda Efler, while Satwik Sairaj & Ashwini Ponnappa will lock horns against number two seeds Wang Yi Lyu & Huang Dong Ping.

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