MUELHEIM AN DER RUHR (Germany), March 10: World championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the men’s singles quarterfinals but PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the women’s competition following second-round losses in the German Open Super 300 badminton tournament on Thursday.
Srikanth, a former world no 1 and seeded eighth here, prevailed 21-16, 21-23, 21-18 over China’s Lu Guang Zu in a second round match.
He will next face Olympic champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who beat France’s Toma Junior Popov 21-17 21-10 in another match.
The seventh seeded Sindhu, a 2019 World Champion, however, suffered a shock 14-21, 21-15, 14-21 loss against China’s Zhang Yi Man in 55 minutes in the women’s singles second round.
Saina, who has been struggling with fitness issues, also proved no match against eighth seeded Thai Ratchanok Intanon, going down 10-21, 15-21 in a lop-sided contest.
Srikanth, who was forced to pull out of the India Open after testing positive for COVID-19, dished out a gritty performance to outlast his world no 27 opponent in a thrilling match that lasted an hour and seven minutes.
The Indian made a good start, opening up a 8-3 lead early on but Lu made a late charge before Srikanth managed to enter the break at 11-10. The duo were locked at 14-14 after the interval when Srikanth stepped ahead with a four-point burst to seal the opening game.
After lagging initially, Srikanth managed to eke out a 15-11 lead in the second game but Lu kept fighting for each point and eventually snatched the second game after saving a match point to stay alive in the contest.
In the decider, Srikanth was 10-5 up and though Lu made it 15-14 at one stage, the Indian quickly wrest back control and shut the doors on his rival to extend his head-to-head count to 3-0 over Lu.
Earlier in the day, it proved to be a disappointing start to the European leg for Sindhu, who will be one of the contenders at next week’s All England Championships.
The Indian couldn’t get going as Zhang broke off at 5-5 and jumped to a 11-5 lead with six straight points. She kept her nose ahead to pocket the opening game without much ado.
Stung by the reversal, Sindhu made a comeback in the second game as she fought her way to a slender 11-10 lead at the break and then slowly marched ahead to bounce back into the contest.
But the Chinese found her bearing in the decider as she moved away after an initial duel to grab a 11-8 advantage at the interval. She didn’t give the Indian much chance after that and soon shut the doors on her fancied opponent. (PTI)