Star men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty dished out an attacking masterclass to join HS Prannoy in the semifinals of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament in New Delhi on Friday. The world number 2 Indian pair completely controlled the game and varied the pace with their array of shots, securing a 21-7 21-10 win over world number 5 Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in a lop-sided quarterfinal at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium. The Asian Games champions will face Malaysia’s fourth seed Soh Wooi Yik and Aaron Chia in the semifinals.
“They have given us some sleepless nights so just wanted to play my A game. I wanted to show them my rhythm. We had a lot of hunger. We are not satisfied. We have another revenge match coming up tomorrow,” Satwik said.
Prannoy produced a valiant effort to progress to the men’s singles semifinals with a thrilling three-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei.
The 31-year-old, who had won the bronze medal at the Asian Games and World Championships last year, recovered from a slump in the second game and showed nerves of steel in the decider to eke out a 21-11 17-21 21-18 win over world number 28 Wang in a 77-minute match.
It is his first semifinal of the India Open.
Coming into the match with a 5-3 head-to-head count, Prannoy dished out an attacking game and constructed his rallies well, keeping his opponent to the back and often finishing points with steep smashes.
One such smash took him to 11-4 at the interval.
Trailing 4-13, Wang showed sparks of his attacking game by winning a point after troubling Prannoy with a barrage of returns. A lovely cross court net shot followed by a smash gave Prannoy 18-5 lead but he missed the lines thrice to lose the next four points.
Wang suddenly looked in control as he reached double digits with a net kill and then unleashed a smash to take his sixth point on the trot.
A lucky net chord and then a net error from Wang gave the Indian nine game point opportunities and he sealed it with a backhand return to take the opening game.
After the change of sides, Wang engaged Prannoy in attacking rallies as he stepped up the pace a bit. The Indian missed a few points after failing in his execution as Wang moved to 9-6 before taking a healthy five-point lead.
With the crowd chanting “HSP”, the Indian kept fighting but the Taiwanese moved ahead to 17-14 and soon grabbed three game points and took the match to the decider after the Indian smashed out.
Wang kept the pressure on Prannoy in the third game but the Indian responded with a quick return to serve and then a net kill as they were locked 5-5 at one stage.
Wang took the next five points with a fabulous cross court smash leaving his opponent flat on the floor.
A beautiful backhand drive and then a controlled net shot followed by a smash took the Indian to 9-10. However, Wang ensured he had a two-point lead at the interval with a steep return.
Prannoy kept snapping at his opponent’s heels to move closer at 11-12 but two unforced errors again pegged him back.
A fighting Prannoy soon clawed back at 14-14 after unleashing a smash. Wang rained down a straight smash but sent the next one out as it was 15-15.
Prannoy recovered from an awkward position to unleash a smash on the forehand corner and then produced a net kill to move into the lead at 17-16.
Soon an alert Prannoy put one away at the forehand corner to gain two match points and converted it at the first chance.
Earlier, world No. 1 and defending champion An Se Young of Korea retired hurt against Singapore’s Jia Min Yeo after aggravating her knee injury in women’s singles quarterfinals.
The 21-year-old Young, who had hurt her knee during the Asian Games last October, was trailing 19-21 0-3 against Jia Min, when she decided to throw in the towel.
The world No. 20 Singaporean thus recorded only her second win against Young, who had made a good start to the season with a title winning run at Malaysia Open Super 1000 last week.
Jia Min will next face former world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who beat China’s sixth seed He Bing Jiao 21-12 21-12.
World No.10 Wang Zhi Yi of China recorded a 22-20, 21-8 win against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in another women’s singles quarter-finals.
In men’s singles, World No.18 Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong stunned Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-17 18-21 21-13. He will face World Championships silver medallist Japanese Kodai Naraoka, who notched a 13-21 21-9 21-16 win over Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia.
In mixed doubles, Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanchai upset defending champions Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan 21-17 15-21 27-25 in their quarterfinal.
Among others, Korean pair of Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun, Chinese duo of Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin entered the semifinals in mixed doubles.
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