India's PV Sindhu returns to Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong during their pre-quarterfinal match in Paris yesterday. Pics/FP
Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu ensured the Indian challenge progressed into the last eight stage as they won their respective pre-quarterfinal matches, albeit in contrasting fashion, at the Total Badminton World Championships on Thursday.
Srikanth continued to cruise along for third successive straight games win, this time over Anders Antonsen, 21-14, 21-18 while Sindhu had to virtually come from the brink to get past a strong and persistent Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 19-21, 23-21, 21-17 in a marathon 87-minute clash to make the quarterfinals.
India's Kidambi Srikanth smashes against Denmark's Anders Antonsen
Mixed pair loses
India's last doubles pair, the mixed team of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy had a bitter-sweet exit. After winning the first game 22-20, they lost the next two 18-21, 18-21 to Indonesia's Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto.
Ajay Jayaram lost 11-21, 10-21 to defending champion Chen Long, who progressed to a third World Championships title. India's B Sai Praneeth also lost, 21-19, 10-21, 12-21 to Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan.
There was a shock in women's singles though, as China's new young talent, Chen Yufei, 19, ousted top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
Srikanth in command
Srikanth was in total command during his win over the young European Championship runner-up Antonsen.
"I'm happy to have started well. No match is easy at a World Championship and though I won in straight games, I have had to play hard in each game," Srikanth said.
As for his meeting with top-seeded Korean Son Wan Ho, who was taken to three games by Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Srikanth said, "You cannot go by past records. He is World No. 1 and a very good player. So, one cannot say anything about his form." Son Wan came through 21-14, 17-21, 21-13.
After his win, Son Wan said, "It was a tough game but I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's match. For me, because this is one of the biggest tournaments of the year."
Srikanth and Son Wan have a 4-4 head to head record, but the Indian has won the last two times. On both counts, Srikanth won Super Series titles. In Australia, he beat Son Wan in first round and Chen Long in the final, while in Indonesia, he beat Son Wan in semi-finals. This should give him the psychological advantage here.
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