Changzhou (China): Reigning world champion P. V. Sindhu made an early exit from the China Open but B. Sai Praneeth kept the Indian flag fluttering with a hard-fought straight-games win to reach the men’s singles quarterfinals here on Thursday.
Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, squandered a first-game advantage to go down 12-21, 21-13, 21-19 to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in a women’s singles pre-quarterfinals that lasted 58 minutes here.
Praneeth, who had claimed a bronze medal at Basel, edged out China’s Lu Guang Zu 21-19, 21-19 to set up a meeting against Indonesian seventh seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
Ginting beat India’s Parupalli Kashyap 23-21, 15-21, 21-12 in a thrilling contest. Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also had a dismal day as he suffered twin defeats, losing both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.
In men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against fourth-seeded Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda and went down 19-21, 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.
Satwik then paired up with his mixed doubles partner Ashwini Ponanappa but the duo couldn’t get past Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo, losing 11-21, 21-16, 12-21 to the Japanese pair.
Ashwini also tasted defeat in women’s doubles after she and her partner N Sikki Reddy lost 12-21, 17-21 to second seeded Japanese pair of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.
Sindhu, who came into the match with a 3-0 head-to-head lead against Pornpawee, dominated the first game. She reeled off eight straight points after the interval to jump to 19-10 and eventually sealed the first game comfortably.
In the second game, Pornpawee changed gears and moved to a 5-1 advantage initially. Sindhu clawed back to 7-9 before the Thai youngster jumped to 15-7 with six straight points and held her fort to roar back into the contest.
The decider started on an even note as both the shuttlers fought hard, moving together till 6-6 when Sindhu surged ahead to enjoy a 11-7 cushion at the break.
However, Pornpawee kept breathing down Sindhu’s neck and slowly moved to 15-19. From there, the Thai shuttler blasted six straight points to leave the Indian shocked....