Sikki, Ashwini Lead India’s Charge in Orleans

By: Sandhya
Date: 24 Mar, 2021
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton

Sikki Reddy & Ashwini Ponnappa both won two matches apiece as the Indian contingent made steady progress at the Orleans Masters 2021 in France. The doubles specialists won their respective mixed doubles encounters with Pranav Jerry Chopra and Dhruv Kapila, before combining forces to take down their Danish opponents in the women’s doubles to round-off a satisfactory day’s work.


Saina Nehwal started the proceedings for the Indian contingent with an impressive 21-9 21-5 win over Rachael Darragh in just 21 minutes. While Sikki & Jerry also raced out of the blocks taking the opening game in their mixed doubles encounter with less than 10 minutes on the clock. The second game turned out to be a little more competitive, but the experienced doubles duo never really looked in any sort of trouble, closing the match 21-7 21-8.


Meanwhile, Ira Sharma produced a stunning reversal in the women’s singles with a comeback-from-behind win over Leonice Huet, in a gripping three-game encounter.


In men’s singles Kiran George produced yet another roaring performance, this time over compatriot HS Pranoy to make it two huge upsets in two days for the youngster. Having been completely outplayed in the opening game, Kiran staged a strong comeback in the second and then used the momentum to upstage the more experienced Pranoy 13-21 21-16 23-21 in just a shade under an hour. The performance ought to give the youngster a lot of confidence. Chirag Sen also notched up an impressive win over Chico Aura of Indonesia.


Kidambi Srikanth was also playing a fellow Indian, Ajay Jayaram and made his way into the second round. While Rahul Bharadwaj, Mithun Manjunath, and Parupalli Kashyap failed in their quest to make it into round two.


In men’s doubles, MR Arjun & Dhruv Kapila had impressive outings as they defeated the English pair Matthew Clare/Ethan Van Leeuwen 21-14 21-16, while Krishna Prasad & Vishnu Vardhan also made it to the second round with a 21-10 21-17 win over their Indonesian opponents. 


Having won their mixed doubles encounters with ease, Sikki & Ashwini had a little more to do to take their women’s doubles match-up. They made a solid start to win the opening game but lost the initiative in the second. The third game remained tight all along but the experienced campaigners, managed to put together a string of four points right at the end to take the game and the match. Anto Agna/Ashna Roy also featured in the women’s doubles draw but couldn’t progress into the second round.

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