Olympic medalists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal advanced to the semi-finals of the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship as they defeated Aakarshi Kashyap and Shriyanshi Pardeshi respectively in women's singles. Kidambi Srikanth followed suit as he overcame Shubham Prajapati in men’s singles.
Saina saw off Aakarshi Kashyap in a comfortable 21-17, 21-10 win her women's singles quarter-finals. A young Kashyap made a promising start to the game with a series of good returns pushing her opponent towards the backcourt but Saina looked to be in good touch and unsettled Kashyap with a few flat smashes to take the lead at 14-12. The inexperienced shuttler couldn’t really recover from it as the game ended 21-17 in Saina's favour.
Saina didn’t leave any loose ends in the second game as she opened it with a healthy five-point lead at 7-2 with Kashyap looking tired. It remained a one-way traffic from there with Saina running away with an unassailable lead at 17-8 and then winning the game 21-10. She faces Arun Prabhudesai next.
In the other quarter-final game, Sindhu outplayed Shriyanshi Pardeshi, winning her match 21-11, 21-17. Sindhu had a comparatively easy game against a nervy Pardeshi who is known to be prone to making errors in the forecourt. Sindhu was leading her 13-5 within minutes, before sealing the first game 21-11.
Pardeshi showed some determination in the second game going neck-to-neck with Sindhu at 6-6, but continuous pressure by the champion saw her leading 12-8 in no time. Though Pardeshi made a comeback shortly, Sindhu remained a step ahead of her at 18-15, before wrapping it up 21-17. She will play Ruthvika Shivani G next.
Kidambi Srikanth continued his winning run with a comfortable 21-17, 23-21 win over Shubham Prajapati. The French Open winner was stretched in the second game by the eighth-seeded and had to even change his on-court position at times to unsettle Prajapati. He will face youngster Lakshya Sen in the semi-finals.
In the mixed doubles, the duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa took on Shivam Sharma and Poorvisha S Ram and managed to win 21-14, 21-12.
Maharashtra Badminton Association president Arun Lakhani said, "The country's top shuttlers certainly proved their mettle today. Over 10,000 spectators, including 5,800 children turned up to watch their heroes live in action in the course of the day and they didn't disappoint.”
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