Singapore Open: Sindhu, Saina and Srikanth seal quarter-final spots

The Indian trio of P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth continued their impressive run, progressing to the singles quarterfinals of the USD 355,000 Singapore Open here Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Sindhu, a Rio Games silver medallist, took 39 minutes to get the better of world number 22 Mia Blichfeldt 21-13 21-19, her second straight win over the Danish shuttler, who had clinched the Spain Masters earlier this year.

World number 6 Sindhu will next face China’s Cai Yanyan, a 2017 BWF World Junior Championships bronze medallist.

Sixth seed Srikanth survived a scare in the second game before overcoming Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-12 23-21 to set up a meeting with the winner of the match between top seed Kento Momota of Japan and India’s H S Prannoy.

Sixth seed Saina, however, had to work hard in her bid to avenge a Malaysia Open first-round loss to Pornpawee Chochuwong before pulling off a thrilling 21-16 18-21 21-19 win over the Thai shuttler in the second round.

The London Olympic bronze medallist will next square off against second seeded Japanese Nozomi Okuhara.

While Saina was plotting the downfall of Chochuwong, her husband and fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap, was locked in a fierce battle with reigning Olympic champion, Chen Long of China.

Kashyap, a 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, stretched Chen to three games before narrowly losing 9-21 21-15 16-21 to the fourth seeded Chinese, who had reached the finals at Malaysia Open last year.

Sameer Verma continued his impressive run, beating China’s Lu Guangzu 21-15 21-18, to set up a clash with either second seeded Taipei player Chou Tien Chen or Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also entered the quarterfinals after stunning world no 11 Hong Kong pair of Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet 21-17 6-21 21-19 in a 50-minute clash.

Earlier in the day, Sindhu led throughout in the first game after opening up a 3-0 advantage but in the second game, she was locked in a tight battle with Mia till 8-8. The Indian was, in fact, trailing 11-15 at one stage.

However, Sindhu managed to claw back at 17-17 and then nosed ahead to seal the issue in her favour.

Sindhu had reached the semifinals of the India Open last month.

In another women’s singles, after grabbing the opening game, Saina fell behind in the second even as Chochowong moved to a 8-2 advantage. The Indian equalised at 12-12 but the Thai shuttler surged ahead from 18-20 to take the match to the decider.

In the third game, Saina had a 9-5 cushion at one stage. She kept her nose ahead for most part of the game before a fighting Chochowong drew parity at 17-17. The Indian, however, ensured she had the last laugh.