Asia Championship: Saina, Prannoy in semis; Sindhu, Srikanth ousted


Wuhan (China)

SainaNehwal and world No. 10 HS Prannoy progressed to the semifinals of the women’s and men’s singles competition at the Asia Badminton Championship.

Saina dumped unseeded Korean Lee Jang Mi 21-15 21-13 in a 43-minute clash. She will face world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei next. “I am pleased with my game. Right now my confidence is at a high and I hope to go beyond the semis,” said the London Olympics bronze medallist.

Prannoy dug deep to eke out a hard-fought 18-21 23-21 21-12 win over second seeded Korean Son Wan Ho in a match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes. He will face Olympics champion and third seed Chen Long next.

However, PV Sindhu and top seed KidambiSrikanth bowed out of the tournament after suffering straight game losses. While Sindhu lost 19-21 10-21 to seventh seeded Korean Sung Ji Hyun, Srikanth was very erratic and went down 12-21 15-21 to legendary Malaysian Lee Chong Wei.

Bounce back

Brimming with confidence after winning the gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, in-form Saina showed great temperament as she bounced back from 3-8 and 9-13 deficits, respectively, to first turn the tables at 14-13 and then walk away with the opening game. The world No. 15 South Korean simply failed to put up a fight in the second game as Saina stamped her authority with an 8-1 lead. Lee Jang reduced the gap to 8-12 but the Indian quickly made upward movements to seal the contest without much ado.


Sindhu, meanwhile, failed to get across 2015 World Championships bronze medallist Sung Ji, an opponent she has played 11 times, winning seven of those encounters.

The 22-year-old Indian squandered a 16-12 advantage to allow Sung Ji pocket the opening game. Sindhu simply wasn’t good enough in the second game as the Korean jumped to a 5-1 lead and nosed ahead at 11-9 during the interval. The world No. 9 reeled off seven straight points to double her lead and soon shut the doors on the Indian.

Lee Chong Wei moved to a massive 13-4 lead in the opening game and closed the opening game without breaking a sweat. Chong Wei kept his distance from the Indian in the second game as well after moving to a 10-8 lead. Despite Srikanth’s best efforts, Chong Wei walked away with the game and the match. “This is my worst performance in an international tournament,” said a disappointed Srikanth after the loss. “I was never in the game and simply gave him (Chong Wei) many opportunities. I wanted an error-free game but it turned out to be otherwise.” (PTI)



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