Sindhu shocks China's Li

Saina, Jwala-Ashwini advance; Srikanth, Prannoy make exits

Sindhu shocks China's Li

Indian badminton queens Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu earned contrasting wins to enter the women's singles quarterfinals while Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa fought hard to enter the women's doubles last eight of the World Championships here on Thursday.

However, it was curtains on India’s challenge in the men’s draw as both Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy bowed out in the third round.

The third-seed Srikanth lost a closely fought game against Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 14-21, 21-17, 23-21, while his mate from the Gopichand Academy, Prannoy, once again couldn’t get past Viktor Axelsen of Denmark losing out 21-16, 19-21, 21-18.

Double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu, coming back from a long injury layoff, put herself well on course for another medal at the event after defeating old nemesis and reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in the 9,000-seater Istora Senayan.

The 20-year-old from Hyderabad defied all odds to beat the third seeded Xuerui 21-17, 14-21, 21-17 in 50 minutes to enter the last eight. Next up, Sindhu will take on South Korean Sung Ji Hyun, against whom the Indian has a 3-1 record in career meetings.

A little while later, World No 2 Saina also displayed superb skills to ease past Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-18, 21-14. This will be Saina's sixth consecutive quarterfinal at the Worlds, after exiting all previous five times at the same stage. She will take on the winner of the match between China's Yihan Wang and Yeon Ju Bae of South Korea.

Later, Jwala and Ashwini earned a thrilling three-game win over Japanese eighth seeds Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda. The Indian combine took just two minutes less than an hour to win 21-15, 18-21, 21-19 and advance to the last eight.

Lee through

Arch rivals Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan remained on course for a blockbuster men's singles semifinal showdown when they enjoyed routine third round victories here.

Chinese fifth seed Lin crushed Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-9, 21-13 while Malaysia's Lee was given a more thorough test by Wang Zhengming in his 21-17, 21-19 victory.

On the other side of the draw, Chinese top seed and defending champion Chen Long put on a supreme display of court coverage with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over unseeded Thai Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk to book his place in the quarterfinals.

Fourth seed Kento Momota of Japan also advanced with a 21-15, 21-16 win over Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh and second seeded Dane Jan Ø. Jørgensen beat Korea's Son Wan-ho 21-19, 21-11 to set up a last-eight encounter against Lin.

There was also the hint of another upset in same half of the draw when top seed and defending champion Carolina Marin dropped the second game of her match against Taiwan's Pai Yu-po but the injury-prone Spaniard dug deep to advance 21-11, 18-21, 21-17.

Meanwhile, Ratchanok Intanon on Thailand was forced to pull out in the third round as she injured her right leg in the third game of her tie against Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri.

However, the biggest upset of the day came in the women's doubles when top-seeded Japanese pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi were stunned in three games by unseeded Malaysian duo Amelia Alicia Anscelly and Soong Fie Cho 21-15, 12-21, 21-14.

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