Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal and Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu produced dominating performance to progress to the women’s singles quarterfinals of Asia Badminton Championship.
Top seed Kidambi Srikanth and world number 10 H S Prannoy also advanced to the last eight stage in men’s singles in contrasting fashion. Saina, a London Olympics bronze medallist, continued her impressive run as she kept a tight leash on China’s Gao Fangjie, outwitting her 21-18 21-8 in a 40-minute clash. The former world number one will now face unseeded Korean Lee Jang Mi, who saw off Thailand’s former world champion Ratchanok Intanon.
Third seed Sindhu, who won a silver at the Commonwealth Games, too notched up a commanding 21-12 21-15 win over another Chinese Chen Xiaoxin in another pre-quarterfinal match. She will take on either seventh seed Korean Sung Ji Hyun or Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan next.
Srikanth, however, did not have to break any sweat as his opponent Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent retired at 2-7 in the first game to hand over the quarterfinal spot to the Indian, who had held the world number one spot for a week this month.
The 25-year-old from Guntur will face three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei on Friday. Srikanth had beaten Lee en route India’s gold medal at the mixed team championship of the Commonwealth Games but the legendary Malaysian was quick to exact revenge when he beat the Indian for the individual gold at Gold Coast.
Prannoy, who had reached the quarterfinals at All England Championship, meanwhile, bounced back from a game down to eke out a difficult 16-21 21-14 21-12 win over Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. Prannoy, who missed out of a medal at the Commonwealth Games, will meet second seed Son Wan Ho of Korea.
Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth, however, went down 12-21 12-21 to Olympic champion Chen Long, seeded third.
Young men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok too found the going tough against the top seeded Chinese combination of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, losing 11-21 19-21. Women’s doubles pair of Meghana Jakkapudi and Poorvisha S Ram also was no match for seventh-seeded Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajong and were outdone 9-21 9-21 in just 23 minutes.