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All England Open 2018: Sindhu, Srikanth, Prannoy into second round

By: Swetha Reddy
Date: 15 Mar, 2018
Image Courtesy: Badminton Photo

Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy progressed into second round while Saina Nehwal and B Sai Praneeth made an early exit in the opening round at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Srikanth had the hard fight before emerging victorious over the Frenchman Brice Leverdez with 7-21, 21-14, 22-20, while, Sindhu battled hard as well before beating Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong with 20-22, 21-17, 21-9. Previously, Saina suffered the straight game defeat against the World No. 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying.

Sindhu’s gist after the first game loss

Sindhu drifted towards the break with the high of seven-point advantage to make the score 11-4 in the first game, before Thai girl’s par at 14-14, who continued her stride to lead with 20-18. Sindhu clawed back, but in the end it was the Thai player who sealed the game.

Stunned by volte-face by Chochuwong, Sindhu cruised with leads in the next two games and didn’t look back notwithstanding the fight by the opponent. The world number four Sindhu, who is the only player to represent India from women’s singles, will face Thailand's Nitchaon Jindapol, who defeated USA's Beiwen Zhang 21-18, 21-14, in the second round.

Underdog Praneeth stunned the World No. 4, yet lost

Underdog Praneeth created the upset by defeating Son Wan Ho in the first game with 21-13. The fifth seeded Korean precluded the Indian from leading and won the next two games with an ease 21-15, 21-11 to enter the second round.  

In another men’s singles match, Srikanth’s onset with series of errors became an advantage to Leverdez to a 5-0 lead in the first game. Srikanth could score 5 points before trailing by the half time with 5-11 and scored just two more points before losing to the opponent with 7-21.

Srikanth changed the gears and led the second game with 11-5 by the break and just surged towards the game point to push the match into the decider with 21-14.

In the deciding game, the Indian scripted the same play to lead with 11-6 at the break. But the game saw some hard wearing battle, later, as Srikanth and Leverdez exchanged the leads. Srikanth, the four super series title winner, with all his experience held the nerve and ousted the opponent.

Later, the 12th seed Prannoy beat a higher ranked Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in three games 9 - 21, 21 -18, 21 - 18 to advance to the second round.

Saina’s eighth consecutive loss against Tai

Earlier, as the match anticipated to be tricky, Saina Nehwal failed to defeat her long time nemesis Tai Tzu Ying with a disappointing 14-21, 18-21 in the opening round.

In the first game, Saina made unforced baseline errors to trail with 2-5. With her deceptive shots, the Taipei girl cruised to 9-5 to her advantage before Nehwal reduced the gap with 9-8. By the half time, the defending champion Tai, was with one point advantage with 11-10.

Saina's deceptions have stood out in this game and have helped her to make a comeback. The opponents exchanged the leads; Saina’s footwork and Tai’s spray of errors here and there, the scoreline read 14-14. Tai slowly started building up the lead with her amazing crosscourt hits and angled shots to go down the wire. Tai simply raised her level and Saina failed to match it and lost the first game with 14-21.

After switching the sides, the Indian gathered some stride. With Tai’s unforced errors, Saina raced ahead to lead with 4-1. Saina pressured Tai with her amazing comeback. With the series of errors committed by the Taipei girl, Saina stood with three-point advantage with an ease by the break with 11-8.

Slowly, Tai displayed her skills, yet trailed with 11-16. The players pared the score at 18-18, followed by Saina finding the difficulty in returning the bird from Tai’s super drop shot and gave away the point to the world no. 1 to make the score 19-18 to Tai’s advantage. Saina, yet, faced another defeat to make it eight against Tai Tzu Ying, after the latter scored two straight match points to wrap the match with 21-18 to her disappointment.

The former world no. 1 and  All England runner-up performed pretty well with the improvement in her fitness level.

Dual double wins

Mixed doubles Indian duo, N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra, defeated Linda Efler and Marvin Emil Seidel of Germany with 21-19, 21-13 in just 33 minutes. The duo will face the second seeded Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping of China in the second round.

While the debutants, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, outplayed the higher ranked Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan with 21-19, 21-18 in the 36-minute contest. The young Indian lads will face the seniors Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the second round.

In women's doubles, India's Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha Ram lost 14-21, 11-21 to fifth seed Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto of Japan in their opening round match.

India suffered another defeat in women's doubles as Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy went down with 14-21, 13-21 against second seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan in the first round.

Indian men's doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy bowed out of the tournament after losing with 20-22, 12-21 to Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England in the first round.

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