Sindhu fights her way into semis; Saina exits

Sindhu fights her way into semis; Saina exits

Sindhu fights her way into semis; Saina exits

Defending champion PV Sindhu entered the women's singles semifinals of $350,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton but Saina Nehwal faltered on a disappointing day for home shuttlers on Friday.

While Sindhu survived anxious moments against lesser known Spaniard Beatriz Corrales, before digging out a 21-12, 19-21, 21-11 victory, it was the end of the road for other Indians in the tournament. Saina appeared jaded against American of Chinese descent Beiwen Zhang 21-10, 21-13.

Saina's stream of errors left even the fifth-seeded Beiwen "surprised."

"Normally she doesn't make so many errors," she said. Saina, though, chose to avoid the waiting media.

The campaign of the Indian men in the singles event was also over in the quarterfinals with Parupalli Kashyap, B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma all biting the dust one after the other. Joining them later was women's second seed and Olympic champion Carolina Marin who went down to sixth-seeded Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 12-21, 19-21.

Besides Sindhu, the mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy kept the Indian flag flying by reaching the semifinals with a 21-8, 21-13 win over Han Chengkai and Cao Tong Wei of China.

Sindhu kept the home crowd engaged. She had made a strong start against Corrales to win the opening game. But on change of sides, the Spanish shuttler, with her deceptive strokes and variations, had the World No 3 in a bind.

Trailing 13-20 in the second game, Sindhu visibly perturbed by Corrales' comeback, clawed her way back point by point. To the thrill of the crowd, she reeled six points in a row, and almost had the game under her control but for a tricky drop from Corrales. It kissed the net cord, leaving Sindhu outstretched and stranded.

The Indian, although frustrated, regrouped to complete the victory and set up an enticing semifinal clash with wily Ratchanok Intanon -- a former world and India Open champion.

"I made too many unforced errors and felt nervous in second game. After that I started getting a few points and I felt confident. But with the net cord, the luck was on her side. I made a confident start in the third game and finished it comfortably," Sindhu said. "Ratchanok is a tricky player. I will have to give my best." On the adjacent court, another Spaniard and crowd favourite Marin had a forgettable outing. Marin, still not her best, bowed out complaining about umpire, who she said acted as a "protagonist."

"He changed shuttles as per his will which made me frustrated. I should have controlled my frustrations better," she said.

Earlier, Kashyap put up valiant effort against China's Qiao Bin, especially in the second game, but fell short to lose 21-16, 21-18.

Bin will now play third seed and last year's finalist Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei who defeated Sai Praneeth 21-15, 21-13. Fourth seeded Shi Yuqi posted a facile 21-13, 21-12 victory over sixth seeded Wang Tzu Wei to set up a semifinal clash with Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain. Zulkarnain, who had upset second-seeded Kidambi Srikanth on Thursday, proved too good for Sameer Verma, winning 21-17, 21-14.

Results (all quarterfinals): Men's singles: 3-Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) bt 8-B Sai Praneeth 21-15, 21-13, Qiao Bin (Chn) bt Parupalli Kashyap 21-16, 21-18, 4-Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt 6-Wang Tzu Wei 21-13, 21-12, Iskandar Zulkarnain bt Sameer Verma 21-17, 21-14.
Women's singles: 3-Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt 7-Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-11, 21-11, 1-PV Sindhu bt 8-Beatriz Corrales (Esp) 21-12, 19-21, 21-11, 6-Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) bt 2-Carolina Marin (Esp) 21-12, 21-19, 5-Beiwen Zhang (USA) bt 4-Saina Nehwal 21-10, 21-13.