B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth have won their respective second-round matches of the Australian Open to book a quarter-final date with each other. In the Women's singles, Sania Mirza and PV Sindhu, too, secured passage into the round of eight after registering victories in Sydney.
Srikanth started the game on a defensive note and that proved to be detrimental to him as the World No.1 Son Wan-Ho seemed all set to exact the Indonesian Open loss by taking the first game 21-15. However, in the second game, the Indian made an outstanding comeback and outplayed the Korean and after stretching the lead to 16-10, he didn’t give his opponent any chance and sealed the game 18-21. The decider wasn't much different as well as Srikanth continuously maintained a healthy lead and booked his place in the quarter-final.
"In the third game I thought I have to get the extra shuttle, that worked for me," said Srikanth after the game.
"He's someone who doesn't attack too much, just keeps the rally going. You have to be steadier than him or you have to crack him. In these conditions, it's hard to go on all-out attack. My training is paying off. I'm really confident about my fitness."
Sai Praneeth, too, saw off the challenge from China's Huang Yuxiang successfully by beating him 21-15 18-21 21-13 in a 64-minute contest. Interestingly, he will now face his compatriot Srikanth in the quarter-finals of the event for the first time since the duo clashed in the final of the Singapore Open in last April, in which the Praneeth emerged
In the women's singles, fifth seed Sindhu brushed aside China's Chen Xiaoxin 21-13 21-18 in 46 minutes to enter the last eight of the competition. The Rio Olympics-bronze medalist will now face World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei on her way to the semi-finals. Despite losing to her six times in her career, Sindhu will take inspiration from her victory during the Rio Olympics.
While it was an easy encounter for Sindhu, Saina Nehwal had to wage a hard battle against Sonia Cheah of USA and registered a 21-15 20-22 21-14 win to set up a clash with sixth seed Chinese Sun Yu in the quarters. The defending champion had defeated Sun at the finals in the last edition of the Australian Open to win the trophy.
While all was hunky dory for Indian singles shuttlers, the doubles’ pairs suffered setbacks in their second round game. In the women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy suffered a 21-18 18-21 13-21 loss to seventh-seeded Japanese pair of Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto.
Similarly, the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, too, failed to cross the second round hurdle after losing to eighth-seeded Chinese Taipei's Chen Hung-ling and Wang Chi-Lin 16-21 18-21.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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