Japan Open | Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy bow out; Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advance to semifinals

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Japan Open | Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy bow out; Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advance to semifinals

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SportsCafe Desk

09/22/2017

At the Japan Open, both Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy lost their quarterfinals to exit the Japan Open Superseries. On the other hand, the duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy secured a place in the doubles semi-finals after beating Kim Ha Na and Seung Jae Seo 21-18 9-21 21-19.

Srikanth, who earlier thrashed Hu Yun to advance to the quarters, was outclassed 17-21, 17-21 by Denmark's Viktor Axelsen in a 40-minute long quarterfinal. Axelsen took control early in the match and forced Srikanth into unforced errors to wrap up the match with relative ease.

In the other men’s singles clash, HS Prannoy lost 15-21, 14-21 to China's Shi Yuqi in an equally one-sided match. Shi took an early lead and maintained it. Prannoy attempted a comeback, but five consecutive points for Shi changed the game in his favor.

In the mixed doubles encounter, the Indian duo of  Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advanced to the semi-finals of the Superseries by edging past Kim Ha Na and Seung Jae Seo 21-18, 9-21, 21-19. 

They are the only one other Indian doubles pair - mixed or otherwise – to reach this stage of a Superseries event after Jwala Gutta and V Diju advanced to the last four stage in the 2011 China Masters. 

"It is a strange feeling (to be the last Indians left in the competition). But at the same time we are quite excited too," said Reddy to ESPN.

"When we were trailing, I was thinking we can't lose another game from here. But we were confident that we could get back. All the close matches we had against those really high quality players helped us here. There was nothing we had not faced before."

"The singles have won so much for the country. So our win is not just important to us but also for the doubles players in this country. They need to have the belief that it is possible even for them to win at this stage," added Reddy.

Chopra and Reddy have played many matches earlier, however, their partnership was enhanced when Chopra decided to stop playing men's doubles and to focus solely on the mixed doubles.

"I wasn't very hopeful in the first round. But after the first three or four points, we started feeling good. And it's been that way since,” said Chopra.

In the Super Series semi-finals, the Indians will clash with the duo of Sayaka Hirota and Takuro Hoki, which are difficult opponents to face, given that Hirota has been very successful as a women's doubles player and won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships.

However, Reddy and Chopra portrayed a confident air.

"Our teammates and coach Tan Kim Her and Gopi sir are happy for us but they haven't congratulated us yet. But that is a good thing. The tournament isn't over and we are only in the semifinals. Who says we have to stop here?" said Chopra.

 

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