Srikanth, Saina Move into the QFs of the Orleans Masters in France

By: Sandhya
Date: 25 Mar, 2021
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton

The second-round action at the Orleans Masters in France, produced a mixed bag of results for the Indian contingent, while some comprehensive wins gave plenty to cheer for the fans, some close fights & heartbreaking losses were also part of the proceedings.


Srikanth Kidambi led the way with a straight-games win over Malaysian challenger Cheam June Wei, in a tough 45-minute encounter, while Kiran George and Chirag Sen suffered heartbreaking losses against experienced opponents. Kiran was playing the home-favorite Brice Leverdez and produced a stirring comeback in the second game to give himself hopes of a third straight upset in three days. Having lose the opening game, Kiran leveled up in the second and fought hard to stay on the Frenchmen’s heels in the third. At 19-apiece, Kiran had his opportunity to complete a famous win, but he just fell short.


Chirag Sen, meanwhile, also suffered a heartbreaking loss in a tough three game encounter against Danish veteran Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus. Chirag began on a confident note taking the opening game 21-14, but then the experience of Solberg came to the fore as he took the second with relative ease. The third was a close fought encounter but the experienced Danish player always seemed to have it in his control.


In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal opened the proceedings for the day against Frenchwoman Marie Batomene and lost a closely fought opening game. But Saina, who needs precious qualification points to keep her Olympics chances alive came back in the second and then took the third with ease to move into the QFs. Joining the Olympic Bronze medalist is the young Ira Sharma, who overcame the Bulgarian challenger Mariya Mitsova in straight games 21-18 21-13.


Also, in the QFs are the men’s doubles pair MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila, and Krishna Prasad/Vishnu Vardhan Gound. Arjun/Dhruv took just 29 minutes to cast aside Englishmen Rory Easton/Zach Russ for a commanding 21-11 21-12 victory, while Krishna Prasad/Vishnu Vardhan also had an easy passage against their Danish opponents. They won 21-7 21-13.


There was no women’s doubles action for the Indian contingent on the day as Sikki Reddy & Ashwini Ponnappa got a walkover courtesy of the corona virus infection to their opponents. Both of them meanwhile did feature in their respective mixed doubles matches, with Ashwini combining with Dhruv Kapila to win against Callum Hemming/Victoria Williams, while Sikki/Jerry suffered a reversal against Niclas Nohr/Amalie Magelund.

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