Badminton: India

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The fourth season of the PBL will begin in Mumbai on December 22 while the final will be held in Bengaluru on January 13, 2019. A ninth team, Pune7 Aces, has been added this year and Marin will be playing for them.
 
The fourth season of the PBL will begin in Mumbai on December 22 while the final will be held in Bengaluru on January 13, 2019. A ninth team, Pune7 Aces, has been added this year and Marin will be playing for them.
 
==2016-19: Sindhu in the finals==
 
[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F08%2F26&entity=Ar02120&sk=2403CFD7&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, August 26, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
 
 
 
'''TURNING IT AROUND'''
 
 
''From Olympics in 2016, Sindhu has now won six finals (including World Championships) and lost 11 finals. Her final losses since 2016 Olympics:''
 
 
'''August 19, 2016''': Lost to Carolina Marin in Olympics final.
 
 
'''November 27, 2016''': Lost to Tai Tzu Ying in Hong Kong Open.
 
 
'''August 27, 2017''': Lost to Nozomi Okuhara at the World Championships.
 
 
'''November 2017''': Lost to Tai Tzu Ying at Hong Kong Open.
 
 
'''December 2017''': Lost to Akane Yamaguchi at World Super Series Finals in Dubai.
 
 
'''February 2018''': Lost to Beiwen Zhang at India Open.
 
 
'''April 2018''': Lost to Saina Nehwal at Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
 
 
'''July 2018''': Lost to Nozomi Okuhara at Thailand Open.
 
 
'''August 2018''': Lost to Carolina Marin at World Championships in Nanjing, China.
 
 
'''August 2018''': Lost to Tai Tzu Ying at Asian Games in Jakarta.
 
 
'''July 21, 2019''': Lost to Akane Yamaguchi at the Indonesia Open.
 
 
==2019: World Champion==
 
[[File: The road to 2019 World Title- PV Sindhu.jpg|The road to 2019 World Title: PV Sindhu <br/> From: [https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F08%2F26&entity=Ar02120&sk=2403CFD7&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, August 26, 2019: ''The Times of India'']|frame|500px]]
 
 
 
'''See graphic''':
 
 
''The road to 2019 World Title: PV Sindhu''
 
  
 
=STATISTICS, YEAR-WISE =
 
=STATISTICS, YEAR-WISE =
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Other than these results, a couple of Indians bowed out in the semifinals and had to settle for the bronze. TNN
 
Other than these results, a couple of Indians bowed out in the semifinals and had to settle for the bronze. TNN
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==China Open==
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===Indian doubles teams progress===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F18&entity=Ar02820&sk=5F80868A&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, China Open: Indian doubles teams progress, September 18, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Hyderabad:
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Indian doubles teams — Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy/Chirag Shetty and Satwik/Ashwini Ponnappa — progressed into the second round of the China Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Changzhou.
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After recovering from the shoulder injury that forced him to skip the World Championships, Satwik combined with Ashwini to shock the sixth-seeded Indonesian pair of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 22-20, 17-21, 21-17 in the mixed doubles first round.
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Trailing 15-19 in the first game, the unseeded Indian pair made a splendid comeback and even saved two game points before winning the first. Though they lost the second they were quite impressive in the decider. They will now face Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo in the pre-quarterfinals on Thursday.
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Satwik later paired with Chirag to oust Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyi Yakura 21-7, 21-18 in the men’s doubles first round. They will square up against Japanese fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda in the second round.
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===Sindhu crashes out; Praneeth wins===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F20&entity=Ar02709&sk=BD4196DA&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, September 20, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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PV Sindhu, three weeks after becoming the World champion, suffered a reversal in the second round of the China Open BWF Super-1000 Tournament in Changzhou.
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The world No.5 was shocked by world No.15 Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 21-12, 13-21, 19-21 in 58 minutes. However, Sai Praneeth kept the
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Indian hopes alive with a victory against Lu Gaung Zu of China 21-19, 21-19. But Parupalli Kashyap lost to Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in three games 21-23, 21-15, 12-21.
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Sindhu looked in full flow in the first game as she raced ahead from 11-10 to 19-10 leaving no scope for her opponent to make a comeback. But after change of courts Sindhu appeared to have been affected by the drift on the court.
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Pornpawee capitalised on the situation. She got off to a 5-1 start and from 9-7 she came up with a six-point burst to surprise Sindhu. Even as the lanky Indian struggled to control the shuttle, Pornpawee wrapped up the game at 21-13. In the decider, Sindhu was cruising ahead at 19-15 before Pornpawee scored six consecutive points to pull off a thrilling victory. Incidentally, this is the first victory for the Thai girl in four matches against the Indian.
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Sai Praneeth too got affected by the drift but did well towards the end in both the games to prevail over Guang Zu.
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“Both of us did a number of mistakes but towards the end I anticipated well and that helped me a lot,” said Sai, who will face Ginting Anthony in the quarterfinals on Friday.
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Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost in both categories. In the men's doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty faltered against Japanese fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 19-21, 8-21. Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa went down fighting against Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo of Japan 11-21, 21-16, 12-21 in the mixed category.
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===Sai loses===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F21&entity=Ar02713&sk=25386063&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, Indian challenge ends as Sai loses, September 21, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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India’s campaign ended with the exit of Sai Praneeth in the quarterfinals of the China Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Changzhou. The unseeded Indian lost to seventh seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia 21-16, 6-21, 16-21 in a keenly-contested men’s singles tie that lasted for 55 minutes. Ginting avenged his World championships loss with this victory.
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Sai won the first game but fared poorly in the next. In the decider, Sai went into the break with a comfortable lead of 11-7. But after the mandatory change of courts the Indian shuttler struggled to keep pace with his rival. From 7-12, Ginting secured six consecutive points to move ahead of Sai. And again from 13-13, Ginting secured a three-point lead before clinching the match at 21-16.
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==Denmark Open==
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===Sindhu, Praneeth Satwiksairaj-Chirag enter second round===
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Contrasting wins for Sindhu, Sai Praneeth
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PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the second round of the Denmark Open while Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma exited Odense. Kashyap, who reached the semifinals of the Korea Open, faltered against Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 13-21, 12-21. Sourabh bowed out to Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands 21-19, 11-21, 17-21. World champion Sindhu worked hard against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia for her 22-20, 21-18 win in 38 minutes. In men’s singles, Praneeth made short work of multiple world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China 21-14, 21-17.
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===Sameer, Pranaav, Sikki advance===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F10%2F17&entity=Ar03316&sk=832EA6BD&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, Early exit for Saina; Sameer advances, October 17, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Sameer Verma and mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy progressed to the prequarterfinals while Saina Nehwal endured yet another early exit at the Denmark Open BWF Super-750 Tournament in Odense.
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Saina suffered a straight game loss against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 15-21, 21-23. The former world No.1 looked good in the second game but failed to win big points towards the end. Sameer faced no such issues as he eased past Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-11, 21-11. Sameer started with a 4-0 lead in the first game and maintained at least a three-point lead throughout the first game. In the second game, Sameer broke free from 4-4 to 9-4 with a five-point burst and never looked back. In the second round on Thursday, Sameer will face Olympic champion Chen Long, who defeated Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in three games 21-18, 15-21, 21-16.
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===Sindhu, Sai lose===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F10%2F18&entity=Ar03514&sk=D1C53F16&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, Yet another early exit for Sindhu; Sai falls to Momota, October 18, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Seventeen-year-old An Se Young recorded the biggest victory of her career when she stunned world champion PV Sindhu 21-14, 21-17 in the second round of the Denmark Open BWF Super-750 tournament in Odense. Meanwhile, in men's singles action, Sameer Verma went down to Chen Long of China 12-21, 10-21 and Sai Praneeth lost to Kento Momota of Japan in straight games 6-21, 14-21.
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This is the third straight early exit for Sindhu after her world title in August. She lost in the second round of China Open and the first round of the Korea Open last month. She looked clueless as the Korean attacked her backhand relentlessly with fast paced drives and down the line smashes. Young, who won the Canada Open this year, had lost the Hyderabad Open final in August and Sindhu is her first big victim.
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In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost 21-16, 21-15 to Chinese sixth seeds Han Cheng Kai and Zhou Hao Dong. In mixed doubles, Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy went down fighting against Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia 24-26, 21-13, 11-21.
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==Dutch Open Super 100==
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===Lakshya Sen enters final===
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Almere:
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Rising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen stor med into the men’s singles final with a straight-game win over Felix Burestedt of Sweden at the Dutch Open Super 100 tournament. The 18-year-old Indian, who had clinched the Belgian Open last month, beat Felix 21-12, 21-9 in a lop-sided semifinal contest that lasted 33 minutes.
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Lakshya had earlier sailed into the men’s singles semifinals with a 21-9, 21-16 win over compatriot BM Rahul Bharadwaj.
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Lakshya, who had won the Asian Junior champion, a silver at Youth Olympic Games and a bronze medal at World Junior Championships last year, will now take on Yusuke Onodera of Japan in the summit clash on Sunday.
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In the semifinal, it was neck-and-neck between Lakshya and Felix till the first six points before the Indian pocketed five straight points to surge ahead 11-6. PTI
  
 
== Hyderabad Open BWF Super-100==
 
== Hyderabad Open BWF Super-100==
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In the final, Momota will face Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who downed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Meanwhile, Akane Yamaguchi will face Nozomi Okuhara in the final of women’s singles. In the semifinals, Yamaguchi ousted Chen Yufei 21-15, 21-15 and Okuhara defeated Michelle Li 21-12, 21-18.
 
In the final, Momota will face Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who downed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Meanwhile, Akane Yamaguchi will face Nozomi Okuhara in the final of women’s singles. In the semifinals, Yamaguchi ousted Chen Yufei 21-15, 21-15 and Okuhara defeated Michelle Li 21-12, 21-18.
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==Jinan Open==
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===Prajnesh in QF; 3 Indians in doubles SF===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F06&entity=Ar02508&sk=82D307A9&mode=text  Prajnesh in quarters, September 6, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Jinan (China):
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Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran booked a singles quarterfinal berth at the Jinan Open with a hard-fought win over Chinese Taipei’s Tung-Lin Wu. The Indian left-hander had to toil hard before prevailing 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the third round.
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Prajnesh had plenty of breakpoints but could convert only two of the eight and dropped his serve once in the one-hour-34-minute clash. He next faces Japanese eighth seed Go Soeda, who steam-rolled Chinese Di Wu 6-1, 6-2.
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Meanwhile, in the doubles event, three Indians will feature in the top-half semifinal. Top seed Divij Sharan and Matthew Ebden beat Pedja Krsten and Akira Santillan 6-1, 6-4. They will now face fourth-seeded Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who beat Hiroki Moriya and Goncalo Oliveira 7-5, 6-2. PTI
  
 
==Junior badminton: Meiraba, Aditi triumph==
 
==Junior badminton: Meiraba, Aditi triumph==
 
Maisnam Meiraba dished out yet another dominating show in the finals to claim the men’s singles title at the Krishna Khaitan All India Junior Ranking Badminton tournament in Panchkula on Sunday. Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt also had a memorable campaign as they returned with twin crowns. Meiraba was unstoppable in his 21-12, 21-11 demolition of second seed Sathish Kumar K. In girls’ singles, Aditi showed steely nerves and resilience in her 22-20, 13-21, 22-20 marathon win over top seed Unnati Bisht in the final. AGENCIES
 
Maisnam Meiraba dished out yet another dominating show in the finals to claim the men’s singles title at the Krishna Khaitan All India Junior Ranking Badminton tournament in Panchkula on Sunday. Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt also had a memorable campaign as they returned with twin crowns. Meiraba was unstoppable in his 21-12, 21-11 demolition of second seed Sathish Kumar K. In girls’ singles, Aditi showed steely nerves and resilience in her 22-20, 13-21, 22-20 marathon win over top seed Unnati Bisht in the final. AGENCIES
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==Korea Open==
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===Kashyap alone remains in fray===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F26&entity=Ar02814&sk=195BB79A&mode=text  Manne Ratnakar, September 26, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Injuries and mid-match retirements rocked the Korea Open BWF Super-500 tournament in Incheon on Wednesday. Six matches, including those of Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth did not last the full length as players pulled out. All of India’s top players, barring Parupalli Kashyap, tumbled out of the tournament. PV Sindhu suffered another early exit as she lost to Beiwen Zhang of USA 21-7, 22-24, 15-21. Sindhu failed to capitalise on a match point (20-19) in the second game.
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The Indian won the first game without breaking any sweat but failed to maintain the momentum. Next up for Sindhu is the European circuit next month. Kashyap, who came through qualifiers, saved the blushes for India with a 21-16, 21-16 victory against Lu Chia Hung of Chinese Taipei. The 32-year-old will now face Daren Liew of Malaysia, who ousted China's Lin Dan 21-19, 21-14. It will be their first meeting in five years. sSaina pulled out due to gastroenteritis at 21-19, 28-21, 1-8.
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===Kashyap in SFs===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F28&entity=Ar03419&sk=86803C49&mode=text  Kashyap seals Korea Open semis spot, September 28, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Incheon:
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Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap progressed to the men’s singles semifinals of the Korea Open World Tour Super 500 with a straight game win over former world No. 2 Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen. In a clinical display, the 33-yearold from Hyderabad, who is the lone Indian left in fray, outsmarted Jorgensen 24-22, 21-8 in 37 minutes to make it to his second semifinal of the season. He had reached the last four at the India Open Super 500 tournament.
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The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist will now face world No. 1 and twotime world champion Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday. A former world No. 6, Kashyap, who was promoted from the qualifying round, had last played Jorgensen five years ago at the Denmark Open. The Indian entered the match with a 2-4 record against Jorgensen, a 2015 World Championship bronze medallist.
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In the first game, the duo engaged in short rallies initially and spilt the first 8 points. A couple of backhand error and Kashyap was lagging 5-8. PTI
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===Kashyap loses to Momota in semis===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F29&entity=Ar03310&sk=677D5118&mode=text  September 29, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Incheon:
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Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap’s impressive run at the Korea Open Super 500 tournament came to an end after he lost to world No 1 Kento Momota of Japan in the men’s singles semifinals. Kashyap, who was the lone Indian left in fray, went down 13-21 15-21 to the two-time reigning world champion Momota in 40 minutes.
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The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, who was promoted from the qualifying round, had last played Momota four years ago at the Indonesia Open. Kashyap had a 0-2 record against the Japanese prior to Saturday’s encounter.
  
 
==Malaysia Masters==
 
==Malaysia Masters==
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In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth is 10th and Sameer 13th.
 
In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth is 10th and Sameer 13th.
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==Vietnam Open==
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===Sourabh seals final spot===
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Ho Chi Minh City:
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India’s Sourabh Verma outwitted Japan’s Minoru Koga in straight games to progress to the men’s singles finals of the Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 here on Saturday. Second seed Sourabh, who had won the Hyderabad Open last month, overcame world No. 112 Minoru 22-20, 21-15 in a 51-minute semifinal clash.
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===Lakshya wins Belgian title===
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Lakshya Sen stunned second seed Victor Svendsen of Denmark in straight games to clinch the men’s singles title at the Belgian International Challenge in Leuven, Belgium. Lakshya was at his best as he notched up a comfortable 21-14, 21-15 win over Svendsen in the title clash that lasted for 34 minutes. AGENCIES
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===Sourabh wins title===
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[https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TOIDEL%2F2019%2F09%2F16&entity=Ar01904&sk=09CA0FB6&mode=text  Sourabh pips Sun to claim Vietnam Open crown, September 16, 2019: ''The Times of India'']
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Ho Chi Minh City:
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Sourabh Verma registered a thrilling three-game win over China’s Sun Fei Xiang to claim the men’s singles title at the USD 75,000 Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 badminton tournament. Second seed Sourabh, who has won the Hyderabad Open and Slovenian International earlier this year, recovered from a mid-game slump to beat Sun 21-12, 17-21, 21-14 in the summit clash which lasted an hour and 12 minutes.
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“I am very happy with the way, I played this week. I played three Japanese and these players have similar kind of style. Most like to attack and the little differences in their style is something you have to figure out on the court. So it was nice to beat them,” Sourabh said.
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He beat three Japanese shuttlers --Kodai Naraoka, Yu Igarashi and Minoru Koga -- on way to his title win. “The final was a tough match but I am happy I could play my game and come out victories. This title will give a boost to my confidence,” the Indian said. PTI
  
 
=See also=
 
=See also=

Revision as of 06:37, 19 October 2019

Indian badminton players at the Worlds as on August 16, 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

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Contents

INDIA’S LANDMARK SINGLES VICTORIES

The Times of India 2013/08/10

PRAKASH PADUKONE

All England title 1980; Winner World Cup 1981; Commonwealth Games singles gold 1978; Bronze at World Championships 1983

SYED MODI

Commonwealth Games singles gold 1982; Bronze at Delhi Asian Games

PULLELA GOPICHAND

All England title 2001

APARNA POPAT

Runner-up World Junior Championship 1996; French Open 1998; Silver at Commonwealth Games 1998

SAINA NEHWAL

Bronze at London Olympics 2012; Gold at Commonwealth Games 2010; 17 major international titles

The Times of India, Aug 20 2016

Manne Ratnakar

Saina's trademark clam on court helps her deal with pesky opponents who try to rattle her with body smashes and stares. Sindhu, on her part, doesn't like body smashes and would get easily rattled and concede points. It's because of this that she tended to lose many matches from winning positions.

Saina, a proven champion, interestingly does not believe she is a natural stroke maker. She has herself admitted on a number of occasions that she lacked natural talent compared to some other players. Saina relies more on hard work and training and needs at least six to eight weeks to peak before a tournament.

PARUPALLI KASHYAP

Bronze at Commonwealth Games 2010

PV Sindhu

For updates, see also i) the page PV Sindhu and ii) YEAR-WISE... in the seond half of this page.

Badminton, P V Sindhu, Marin and Saina Nehwal; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 20, 2016

Bronze at World Badminton Championships, China, 2013

The Times of India, Aug 20 2016

Manne Ratnakar

PV Sindhu has seized the opportunity to unleash her electric prowess as a shuttler on the greatest stage of all, eventually becoming the first female sportsperson to win a silver for India.

Sindhu has numerous chinks in her defence but in 2016, she has worked hard on reducing the chinks. She looks solid in defence now and has sur prised many with her retrieving ability . Saina likes faster court conditions -when the shuttle is moving fast between the courts it will be advantage Saina. Sindhu prefers the opposite, she likes if the shuttle is slow. That is why in Asian conditions, where they use air conditioners, the shuttle moves well and Saina performs better. In Brazil, however, the shuttle moved slower and Sindhu was on a roll.

At the Olympics 2016, Sindhu has been a revelation. She was cool like a cucumber even in the gold medal match and hardly ever seemed annoyed throughout her memorable campaign.

Standing tall at 5'11“, Sindhu likes to pack her shots with a lot of power. Saina, however, is a rally player who wears down the opponent and pounces on the mistakes of others.

International titles, victories

Asian Junior Championship

July 23, 2018: The Times of India


Gold

1965: Gautam Thakkar won the boys singles gold

2012: PV Sindhu was the first girl to achieve this honour.

2018: Lakshya Sen toppled top seed and reigning world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsaran to become the first Indian boy after 53 years to win the Asian Junior Championship, in Jakarta. The 16-year-old needed just 46 minutes to beat Kunlavut 21-19, 21-18 in the final.

Other medals

2009: Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Chopra/Prajakta Sawant claimed bronze.

2011: Sameer Verma won silver

2011: Sindhu clinched bronze.

2012: Sameer Verma won bronze.

Premier Badminton League

2018: Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth, Marin get the highest prices

October 9, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and world champion Carolina Marin were the expected top buys at the Premier Badminton League season four auction, fetching the maximum price of Rs 80 lakh each here on Monday. India’s top male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth too was picked for Rs 80 lakh at the auction.

The unexpected one was rising doubles star Satwiksairaj Rankireddy who was the highest paid non-Icon Indian player with Rs 52 lakh. With all players returning to the auction pool for the first time since 2015 and no Right to Match (RTM) card at teams’ disposal, the exercise gained more significance with franchisees looking to get the combination right besides their ideal Icon player.

Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto was the highest paid non-Icon Player with Delhi Dashers splurging Rs 70 lakh for his services. The Delhi outfit won a tense battle with two other teams to acquire the World No 11, paying Rs 40 lakh above his base price.

Icon players Marin and Sindhu were the obvious choice for most teams. At least four teams raised the prize purse to Rs 80 lakh, the maximum limit a team can bid for a player, before the players got assigned to the teams by a draw of lots.

Among the non-Icon Indians, Rankireddy was the top draw as Ahmedabad Smash Masters outbid the Hyderabad Hunters to secure the youngster for Rs 52 lakh, a massive jump from his base price of Rs 15 lakh.

The fourth season of the PBL will begin in Mumbai on December 22 while the final will be held in Bengaluru on January 13, 2019. A ninth team, Pune7 Aces, has been added this year and Marin will be playing for them.

STATISTICS, YEAR-WISE

2014:Watershed year

The Times of India

Dec 27 2014

UNPRECEDENTED LEAP IN BADMINTON

Amit Kumar Das

It turned out to be a watershed year for Indian badminton as the home shuttlers clinched no less than eight individual titles and also broke new grounds in team championships, making India a dominant force at the international stage Saina Nehwal and K. Srikanth clinching titles at China Super Series Premier and P.V. Sindhu bagging five bronze, including a World Championship medal, besides the historic bronze medals at Uber Cup and Asian Games, were the highlights of the year in which Indian badminton achieved unprecedented success at the global platform. If Saina led the resurgence of Indian badminton in the last few years, the year also saw the emergence of younger stars, who made it a terrific season with the help of their stupen dous performance.

While Saina scooped three titles, Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Aravind Bhat, Sindhu and H.S. Prannoy -all laid their hands on the crown at least once in the year gone by.In fact, Saurabh Verma and P.C. Thulasi also won titles in the International challenge category.

It was yet again Saina who set things in motion with a victory at the India Grand Prix Gold, which finally broke her long title drought. The Indian ace added two more titles to her kitty, clinching the Australia Super Series at Sydney in June and China Super Series Premier at Fuzhou in November.

While Saina blew hot and cold, teen sensation Sindhu continued to make big strides in world badminton with her performance, which saw her reach the finals of India Grand Prix Gold first in Lucknow and then winning the bronze at the Asian Badminton Championship in Gimcheon.

In fact, Indian women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Poppanna also made their presence felt by clinching the bronze in the same tournament in April.

Next month, India hosted the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cup Finals for the first time and Saina and Sindhu ensured that it turned out to be a memorable one as they shepherded the women's team to a historic bronze.

Sindhu had a golden chance of winning the Commonwealth Games women's singles title in July but the Indian had to settle for a bronze when she lost to Michelle Li of Canada.

2014: Shuttlers: Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu

The Times of India, Dec 31 2014

The fabulous feats of Indian shuttlers made 2014 the breakout year for Indian badminton. But no one could match the achievement of Kidambi Srikanth. Defying all predictions, the 21-year-old won the China Open Super Series, beating multiple World and Olympic champion Lin Dan in the final. He finished the year ranked No. 4 in the world. After a barren 2013, Saina Nehwal made an impressive comeback this year. She thrashed World Champion Carolina Marin of Spain to clinch the Australian Super Series and then grabbed the China Open, beating the Chinese on way to the final. PV Sindhu bagged bronze in Glasgow and helped the Indian team claim its first-ever Asiad and Uber Cup bronze.

2015

Garaga, Rankireddy win Badminton Asia Championships boys doubles

The Times of India, October 12, 2015

The budding doubles duo of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy clinched boys doubles gold in the Badminton Asia Championships in Kudus, Indonesia Jayaram outclassed Raul Must of Indonesia in straight games 21-12, 21-18. Under-17 boys Krishna and Satwik, who train at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy , trounced Jun Hau Leong and Fong Hau Sim of Malaysia 21-16, 21-15 in straight games. Such was the domina tion of these Hyderabadi shuttlers that they did not even lose a single game in the entire tournament. Not only that, they were not even forced to save a game point. In 2014, KrishnaSatwik claimed bronze at this Continental meet.

October 2015: Srikanth climbs to fifth in rankings; Saina is second

The Times of India, Oct 30 2015

Srikanth climbs to fifth in rankings; Saina is second

Top Indian male shutler Kidambi Srikanth climbed up place to fifth, while Saina Nehwal remained static on No. 2 in the atest Badminton World Federa ion (BWF) rankings released on Thursday . Srikanth gained a spot n the men's singles ranking.

Manu-Sumeeth bag GP title in Mexico

The Times of India Dec 22 2015

Manne Ratnakar

Hyderabad

Ending a five-year drought, the fast rising doubles combination of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy claimed their maiden Grand Prix crown with a 22-20, 21-18 victory over BodinIssara and NipitphonPuangpuapech of Thailand in the Mexico Open final on Sunday . The duo, who trains at the Pullela Gopichand Academy here, faced a stiff resistance in the first game as the Thais saved four game points from 1620 before the Indians claimed it. In the second, the Indians got off to a brisk start and maintained a healthy lead over their rivals right throughout. After Olympians Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas won the Bitburger Open in 2010, this is the best ever performance by an Indian men's doubles team. “This is a great win for both of us.We've worked really hard and this is the result of our hard work. We would like to thank our coach Pullela Gopichand, doubles coach Kim Tan Her and BAI officials for supporting us. Many thanks to our parents, it's because of their prayers and blessings we are here,“ Manu told TOI from Mexico City on Monday . The players, who have been consistent this year, were close to clinching their first GP title twice before. They missed out winning the titles in US Grand Prix in June and Dutch Open in October despite dishing out some inspired performances in the initial rounds. “It turned out to be a good year for us. And finishing off with a title is amazing. We started confidently . It was a bit tricky in the final, it was all about speed and tactics,“Sumeeth said.

2016

2016: Asia Championship

The Times of India, Feb 21 2016

Manne Ratnakar

Shuttlers lose in Asia C'ship semis

HS Prannoy , saviour of the hosts for the last two days, could not repeat the magic as his team bowed out of the tie much before his arrival, losing 1-3 to Indonesia in the semifinals of the Badminton Asia Team Championships at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium. With this loss Indian men bagged the bronze medal, their first in last three decades.

Though Kidambi Srikanth gave a solid start to his team, the hosts lost the next three ties and crashed out of the tournament. After winning the first game without much difficulty against in form Tommy Sugiarto, Srikanth was unlucky to lose the closely-fought second game. However, the top ranked Indian shifted gears in the decider and played an attacking game to oust Tommy 21-14, 23-25, 21-9.

Doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy proved no match for Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 2110. In the second singles, world No.25 Ajay Jayaram tried hard before going down to Anthony Ginting 15-21, 20-22.

2016: Uber Cup

Women

The Times of India, May 20, 2016

Quarterfinals When the top gun, misfired youngster RuthvikaShivani came to the rescue with a stupendous display to assure her team of a bronze with a 3-1 victory against Thailand in the Uber Cup quarterfinals on Thursday.

This will be only the second medal for India at this prestigious team event. Indian women had won bronze at the last edition.

For a long time, Saina Nehwal had carried Indian hopes. But the off-colour Hyderabadi faltered on the day to give India a poor start. PV Sindhu, however, stepped up and put the campaign back on rails with a dominant 21-18, 21-7 victory against Busanan Ongbumrungphan.

JwalaGutta and Ashwini Ponnappa made it 2-1for with a 21-19, 21-12 win against PuttitaSupajirakul and SapsireeTaerattanachai.

Ruthvika then proved her mettle. No one expected her to get past a tough opponent like NitchaonJindapol, the world No.25 who has been giving top shuttlers a tough time. She had even defeated PV Sindhu in January this year.Ruthvika came up with a stunning show and registered a 21-18, 21-16 victory . Leading 20-10, Ruthvika conceded eight points before winning the first game at 21-18.

2017

Badminton Jan to June 2017

The best players

TOISA 2018 NOMINEES: BADMINTON, January 25, 2018: The Times of India


KIDAMBI SRIKANTH (World No. 3 )

Building on the promise shown during his run to the quarterfinals of the men’s singles at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Srikanth made it large last year. He won four Superseries titles in 2017, the most ever by an Indian, and moved to No. 2 in the BWF men’s singles rankings. Srikanth’s first title was the Indonesia Open, where he beat Japan’s


PV SINDHU (World No. 3)

After claiming a breakthrough silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sindhu lived up to her billing as the queen of Indian badminton this year by winning two Superseries titles, a silver medal at the Badminton World Championships and another at the BWF World Superseries Finals. Her first Superseries win came in April, when she beat Olympic champion Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-16 to win the India Open for the first time. Days later, she rose to a careerhigh No 2 in the BWF women’s singles rankings. After claiming a silver medal at the Badminton World Championships, only India’s second ever, Sindhu went on to win her second Superseries in October Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 21-19, and a week later he vanquished the world and Olympic champion Chen Long in straight games 22-20, 21-16 to claim the Australia Open. Later, Srikanth became the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to win the Denmark Open and then created history by claiming the French Open. In addition, Srikanth also reached the final of the Singapore Open.

when she became the first Indian to win the Korea Open. Her other title was the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold. Other close finishes came in the final of the National Badminton Championship and the Hong Kong Superseries, where she was runner-up both times.


SAINA NEHWAL (World No. 10)

A successful, injuryfree year for the 2012 London Olympics medalist. Saina won a Grand Prix Gold, a bronze at the World Championships and her third national title. Won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix - her 23rd title overall. Won a bronze medal at the Badminton World Championships having reached her recordbreaking seventh consecutive quarterfinal. Beat Olympic gold medal winner and two-time world champion Carolina Marin 22-20, 21-18 in round one of the Denmark Open.


HS PRANNOY (World No. 10)

His most successful year ever, Prannoy won a Grand Prix Gold, reached the semifinals of two Super Series and won the national title for the first time. Claimed his third Grand Prix Gold title by beating compatriot Parupalli Kashyap 21-15, 20-22, 21-12 in the final of the US Open.

Reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open Super Series and the French Open. Became the first Indian to beat the big four of world badminton: Taufik Hidayat (2013), Lin Dan (2015), Chong Wei (twice in 2017) and Chen Long (2017). Achieved a career-best position of No. 10.


B SAI PRANEETH (World No. 16)

Having never made it past the quarters of a Super Series of a Grand Prix Gold tournament, Sai beat Kidambi Srikanth in the final of the Singapore Open. In this tournament, he also beat Denmark’s Emil Holst, world No. 23 Qiao Bin, eighth seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and Korea’s Lee Dong Keun to meet Srikanth in the first all-Indian Super Series final. Won his second title of the year in June, beating Indonesia’s Christie Jonatan 17-21, 21-18, 21-19 to clinch the $120,000 Thailand Open. Runnerup at the Syed Modi Grand Prix.

A watershed year

Action Replay 2017: BADMINTON, December 28, 2017: The Times of India


2017 Was A Watershed Year For Indian Badminton As Players Broke New Ground, Writes M Ratnakar

If Saina Nehwal’s hat-trick of titles in 2010 was the catalyst which propelled Indian badminton to a different plane, 2017 has proved to be a watershed year for the sport as Kidambi Srikanth led the boys’ victory parade with four Super Series titles in a calendar year. Since 2010, the sport has witnessed a spiralling success rate every year. The Olympic medal came in 2012 with Saina’s bronze and a podium finish at the World Championships became a regular feature thereafter.

Sindhu’s Olympic silver at the 2016 Olympic Games catapulted the game to new heights of popularity.

However, 2017 has seen greater performances from the Indian shuttlers as 13 major titles have been won by seven different players, apart from PV Sindhu’s silver and Saina’s bronze at the World Championships. Sindhu’s one hour 50-minute marathon against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the Worlds final will go down in history as an epic encounter.

Never in the past had so many Indian players figured among the winners’ circle. Until 2017, the success stories have been confined to Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth but this year ‘so-called fringe players’ like SAI Praneeth, Sameer Verma, HS Prannoy and even doubles pair of Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy have ensured that the Indian flag flutters with pride at various international events. For a change the boys have leapt past the girls and cornered more glory in 2017. Sindhu won two Super Series titles —India Open and Korea Open — and capped the year with a silver at the year-end Finals in Dubai.

But the year belonged to Srikanth and Co, who have virtually dominated the men’s singles with élan. The Indian boys were everywhere in 2017, winning titles, stunning champions and dominating the men’s singles category. Sameer Verma started it by trumping SAI Praneeth at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold final in January. Thereafter, SAI Praneeth took charge by pocketing his first Super Series at the Singapore Open in April. Interestingly, here too, Praneeth’s opponent was none other than Srikanth.

Praneeth also clinched the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold in June. A fortnight later Srikanth triumphed in the Indonesia Open, the richest Premier event of the year. The 24-year-old went on to clinch back-toback titles, a first in his career, by emerging victorious at the Australian Open Super Series the very next week.

While Indian fans were busy celebrating the unexpected success of their boys, experts have observed a fascinating trend behind these stupendous performances. The Hyderabad boys have been assisting each other in the victories as if they have learnt the art of ‘hunting in packs’.

At the Indonesian Open, HS Prannoy had stunned Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei and Olympic champion Chen Long to clear the path for his training partner Srikanth. Later, Prannoy said that he took tips from seasoned campaigner Parupalli Kashyap on how to beat the Chinese superstar. Prannoy lost to Kazumasa Sakai in the semifinals but passed on some key information to Srikanth, who defeated the Japanese shuttler in the final.

Even at the Denmark Open in October, Prannoy helped Srikanth by ousting Lee Chong Wei in the second round itself. With easier opponents to negotiate at the latter stages, Srikanth claimed his third Super Series title by defeating Korean veteran Lee Hyun Il in the final. The next week at the French Open, Prannoy ousted Lee Hyun in the first round before going down to Srikanth in a keenly-contested semifinal. By claiming top honours in Paris, Srikanth became the fifth shuttler in badminton history to win four Super Series titles in a calendar year. Incidentally, these were also Srikanth’s second back-to-back titles.

It is no secret that the dexterous efforts of Pullela Gopichand is behind their success and the newfound vigour. All these players hail from his academy and have been with him since their childhood.

About five years back, when Saina and Sindhu were making all the headlines, Gopichand had predicted that the boys too will replicate the girls’ success stories soon. But very few took him seriously at that time. However, once Srikanth burst on the scene with a sensational mauling of Lin Dan in the China Open finals in 2014, people began to notice that the boys were coming to the party.

The coach, who is building Indian badminton brick-by-brick, has immense faith in the abilities of his players and is always confident about breaching the difficult barriers. “In my playing days many used to tell us that we can never reach the level of the Chinese. But I always believed that if we have the facilities in place we can achieve a lot. I am only putting a system in place and I am not surprised with these results,” Gopichand said.

Gopichand changed the landscape of badminton but the Dronacharya awardee is yearning for more. He has a few budding shuttlers who are aspiring to follow the footsteps of their illustrious seniors.

But despite these fabulous feats, the bigger trophies like Olympic gold, World Championships crown and All England are missing from the cupboard.The only way the forthcoming years can beat the success of 2017 is if the shuttlers bring these elusive trophies home.

The main stars

M Ratnakar, Smashing success: India ruled the courts, December 28, 2017: The Times of India


It wasn’t just all about Srikanth and Sindhu. Prannoy and Praneeth made heads turn too

—M Ratnakar

KIDAMBI SRIKANTH

Popularising the whiplash smash and reinventing the aggressive style of badminton, Kidambi Srikanth made 2017 the best ever for Indian men. Of the seven Super Series titles India won, Srikanth bagged four. In the first quarter of the year, Srikanth did not do much as was he was recovering from his injuries. But in April he struck form. He lost to Sai Praneeth in the Singapore Super Series final and went on to win back-to-back Super Series titles in Indonesia and Australia. Though he had a disappointing World Championships, he was on a roll in October, once again claiming back-to-back titles in Denmark and France. With these amazing triumphs, Srikanth became only the fifth shuttler in the world to wear four Super Series crowns in a calendar year.

SAINA NEHWAL

Even though she did not win many titles, Saina Nehwal still made her presence felt in 2017. The seasoned campaigner won only one title — the Malaysia Masters — in the last 12 months apart from the bronze at the Worlds, her second successive medal at BWF’s biggest event. However, her crowning glory was the straight-game victory over PV Sindhu in the National Championship final. The ace shuttler, who returned to the Gopichand camp in August after a three-year hiatus, will be keen to win a few more titles with the help of the Dronacharya awardee.

SAI PRANEETH

The supremely talented shuttler lived up to the expectations with two major titles. He started the year by reaching the final of the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold tournament. But the biggest victory of his career came in April when he beat title favourite Srikanth in the final to win the Singapore Open Super Series. He also won the Thailand Grand Prix Gold title in June.

HS PRANNOY

If there was one shuttler who lady luck did not oblige this year, it has to be HS Prannoy. The Kerala shuttler, who is regarded as one of the most deadliest attackers on the circuit, could have won at least two Super Series titles this year. He beat the best in the world, but fortune deserted him at crucial moments. Though he stunned Olympic champ Chen Long and Malaysian great World No.1 Lee Chong Wei, he failed to convert such major victories into titles. However, he helped his friend Srikanth by mowing down these tough nuts. He ended the year with a dominant victory against Srikanth in the National badminton final.

June: The rise of Srikanth, Praneeth, Prannoy

Manne Ratnakar, June 27, 2017: The Times of India


Having played second fiddle to Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu for long, India's male shuttlers, led by K Srikanth, have suddenly created big buzz with several stunning international triumphs recently. TOI looks at the phenomenon...

`Hunting in packs' is the new mantra in Indian men's badminton. The exploits of Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy have catapulted Indian badminton to a new high as a group of Indian men have begun dominating men's singles as never before. Led by Srikanth, they have achieved a rare Super Series hat-trick besides notching up title wins in four of the last five big international tournaments.While Srikanth won the Indonesia and Australia Open Super Series titles, Sai bagged the Singapore Super Series and Thailand Grand Prix Gold crowns.

The support cast too has played a key role in the number of titles won by the Indians. Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap may not have won titles but they had helped their friends by clear ing their path. In Jakarta, Prannoy knocked out the legendary Lee Chong Wei and Olympic champion Chen Long, thereby letting Srikanth negotiate an easier opponent in the final.

In Australia, Kashyap shut out Indonesia Open finalist Kazumasa Sakai at the qualifying stage itself.

The sterling performance of the Indian boys in the last two months have made them one of the most feared gang of shuttlers in the world arena. Interestingly, most of them are in the 22-24 years age group, making them bright prospects for marquee international events which are coming up -like the Olympic and World Championships.

What makes the scenario even more heartening is that besides these four, there are other talented shuttlers like Ajay Jayaram, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma who have been keeping the Indian flag flying.

Undoubtedly, this is the best phase ever in men's singles for India. Earlier, success in this sphere was limited to Prakash Padukone (All England title in 1980) and Pullela Gopichand (All England title in 2001).

After the two major titles _ which were separated by more than two decades _ the best feats were Kashyap win ning the Commonwealth Games Gold and Srikanth clinching the China Open Super Series Premier in 2014. Srikanth added the Indian Open Super Series crown in 2015 while the likes of Jayaram and Sai Praneeth claimed Grand Prix Gold titles. But the major push came in last two months.

Gone are the days when Indians struggled to clear the qualifying stage and breaking into the top-50 was celebrated as a major feat. Our men are in the elite league now. It has taken years of hard work, sweat, sacrifice and a lot of planning to bring about this transformation. A lot of credit for this turn around has to go to National coach Gopichand.

As a player, he faced a series of difficulties, got injured often, found no proper system but still achieved success.Once his career ended, he was determined to build a system. “There was never a dearth of talent in our country .Even during my time we had extremely talented players like Chetan Anand, Anup Sridhar, Arvind Bhatt, Nikhil Kanetkar. But what I realised was that all were crafty but lacked fitness, strength, speed and endurance. To get these things we needed to create a group of people around a player. In our days we never had a proper coaching system, no concept of having a physio, nothing like that. These are the basic necessities and thankfully we have created them now,“ Gopichand said.

Gopichand also realised that the thought process of Indian shuttlers needed to change. “I always used to think different from others. In those days we were told to pick and play small tournaments, win some and improve the rankings. I thought it was wrong. So, I started making Saina (Nehwal) play in Super Series events. We need to believe in ourselves, think big and do what it requires to reach there,“ Gopi said.

Though Gopi achieved success with the girls _ Saina and PV Sindhu _ it took a while for him to replicate it in men's singles. “Success in women was achieved fast because I got two strong girls in Saina and Sindhu. But it took time for me to build that strength and fitness in men. Another area I succeeded in was converting the success at the junior level to senior stage. I also got an excellent support staff,“ Gopi said.

India have as many as six men in the top-35 of world rankings at present. It's a promising position and if the players keep improving, India can become a global power.

With the longevity of shuttlers increasing due to modern training methods, Srikanth & Co will be around for at least another five years during which time they can take Indian badminton to a higher plane. With talented youngsters like Lakshya Sen and Siril Verma waiting in the wings, the future seems to hold exciting prospects for India.

June: The male stars

Jun 27 2017: The Times of India

 KIDAMBI SRIKANTH (24, ranking 11)

The form man of world badminton right now, Srikanth has risen fast to become the poster boy of men's badminton in India. He is expected to be ranked around 5 in the world when the fresh list is announced on Thursday.

PARUPALLI KASHYAP (30, ranking 116)

He has been the guiding light to all the men's singles shuttlers. His victories at the international level, particularly the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold, gave confidence to others like Srikanth, Prannoy and Sai Praneeth. He was also the first Indian man to reach the Olympic quarterfinals. Kashyap has been fighting injuries in the last two years but is now back on court.

HS PRANNOY (24, ranking 21)

HS Prannoy, who trains at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, has always been regarded as a very talented shuttler. His big break was the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold title last year.He also created a splash by stunning Olympic gold medallist Cheng Long and silver medallist Lee Chong Wei at the recently Indonesia Open.

AJAY JAYARAM (29, ranking 15)

Till recently, Ajay Jayaram was the top-ranked Indian men's singles shuttler. Unlucky to miss the London Olympics berth by a whisker, Jayaram won the Dutch Open Grand Prix Gold twice -2014 and 2015. He missed a Dutch hat-trick when he lost in the final last year. Jayaram, who trains under Tom John, also reached the finals of the Korea Open Super Series in 2015.

SAI PRANEETH (24, ranking 16)

His Singapore Open triumph made him only the second Indian after Srikanth to clinch a Super Series title. He made it two titles in a row by claiming the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold as well. The crafty player is expected to pose a major threat to the top shuttlers in the world.

SAMEER VERMA (22, ranking 32)

The younger of the Verma brothers, Sameer's best show so far was reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open Super Series in November 2016. The 22-year-old is a hard-working shuttler who defeated Sai Praneeth to win the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title in January this year. His elder brother, Sourabh Verma, who is 24, is ranked 35th in the world and is yet another player to watch out for.

August: World Championship, Glasgow

Aug 28 2017: The Times of India

In a first, two Indians finished on the podium. Sindhu -who had earlier won bronze medals at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships -won the silver and Saina a bronze.

September: Five Indian men in top-20

Five Indian men shuttlers in top-20, Sep 29 2017:: The Times of India


Five Indians find themselves in the top-20 of the BWF men's singles rankings with H S Prannoy being the biggest gainer after his quarterfinal showing at the Japan Open. Prannoy has jumped four places to be world no 15 while Kidambi Srikanth, who too lost in the quarterfinals in Japan, remains the highest-ranked Indian male player at eighth. Ajay Jayaram remains at the 20th spot while B Sai Praneeth too has not moved from his position of 17th. Sameer Verma has gained a couple of places to the 19th.

November: Sindhu, Srikanth both world’s No. 2

Manne Ratnakar, Double joy: Sindhu and Srikanth ranked No. 2, November 7, 2017: The Times of India


The rise and rise of the Indian shuttlers has been awe inspiring.

Four Super Series title triumphs catapulted Kidambi Srikanth to world No.2. It's a new high for Indian badminton as two shuttlers are currently ranked No.2 in the world, a feat accomplished for the first time.While PV Sindhu reached there a few weeks back, Srikanth joined her.

Until 2016, the script involved the success stories of Saina Nehwal and Sindhu. Saina's title-winning spree made it look difficult for others to emulate her till Sindhu started winning medals on a bigger stage. Inspired by the girls, the boys took charge in 2017 and collected more than half a dozen titles.

Srikanth may even become No.1 very soon.

The efforts of coach Pullela Gopichand are responsible for the badminton revolution in the country . But the Dronacharya insisted that the success story is a culmination of a lot of things. “It is a culmination of a lot of things. Each and everybody's contribution is very important. Be it the Sports Authority of India (SAI), government, sponsors, coaches and also senior players like Saina and Kashyap,“ Gopichand said.

Saina and Kashyap made others believe that success at highest level could be achieved.

November: Prannoy, Saina win national titles

Suhas Nayse, Sizzling Saina surprises Sindhu, November 9, 2017: The Times of India

Achievements, Men's singles, Women's singles, Men's doubles, Women's doubles, Mixed doubles, 2017
From: Suhas Nayse, Sizzling Saina surprises Sindhu, November 9, 2017: The Times of India
Women's singles final and Men's singles final, some facts, 2017
From: November 9, 2017: The Times of India

See also:

Achievements, Men's singles, Women's singles, Men's doubles, Women's doubles, Mixed doubles, 2017

Women's singles final and Men's singles final, some facts, 2017


Back With Coach Gopi, Nehwal Claims Third National Title; Prannoy Shocks Srikanth For Maiden Crown

Form and rankings went for a toss as Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy stunned hot favourites PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth to emerge champions in the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship.

The packed stadium with around ten thousand spectators at the Divisional Sports Complex witnessed some spectacular badminton from the country's premier shuttlers which kept them on the edge of their seats till the last point of the week-long tournament.

The dream summit clash between Saina and Sindhu lived up to expectations with both the players slugging it out for each point resulting in long and pulsating rallies.

Saina, seeded second, proved a point or two to her detractors by upsetting top seed Sindhu 21-17, 27-25 in 54 minutes to clinch her third title. The 27-year-old thus maintained her perfect record in the Nationals with three titles in as many appearances.

Incidentally , she marked her comeback to the Nationals after a gap of almost ten years with the crown. As a teenager, she had triumphed at Goa in 2008 where she had defended the title she had won for the first time at Patna in 2007.

Saina was fully fired up while taking on Sindhu as she made swift movements to jump to a comfortable lead in the first game. Besides excellent court coverage, the world No. 11 executed several bodyline smashes which Sindhu found too hot to handle. Sindhu reduced the deficit in the end but could not stop Saina pocketing the first game at 21-17.

Stunned by the reversal, Sindhu bounced back gallantly in the second game. Although the scores were al most equal at the start, Sindhu surged ahead by three points and looked set to restore the parity.

However, Saina was in no mood to let it go. She fought back like a true fighter and saved a couple of game points to stop Sindhu. Sindhu too was equally determined to take the match into the decider. After six deuces, Saina finally managed to convert her sixth match point.

At 26-25, both the players were engaged in another long rally , keeping the entire crowd breathless. After around twenty strokes, Sindhu fai led to return one of Saina's sharp half-shashes and hit the shuttle in the net as Saina punched the air in jubilation.

Saina thanked her support staff and coach Pullela Gopichand for the turnaround in her fortunes. “I am surprised with the way I played today .I moved well and picked Sindhu's difficult shots. It was a great match and I am glad that I could finish it off in two games. I would like to thank all the support staff and Gopi Sir for working hard on me in the last couple of months,“ an elated Saina told TOI af ter the final.

Earlier, the men's singles final bet ween Srikanth and Prannoy also saw a big upset. Second seeded Prannoy edged out top seed and world No. 2 Sri e kanth 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 in a battle which lasted 50 minutes. It was a special mo . ment for Prannoy as he had never won any National title in any age group.I Prannoy celebrated his first entry o into the final in style by overcoming e the stiff challenge from his regular practice partner. The Kerala youngs ter also avenged his defeat to Srikanth in the semifinal of the French Open Super Series a few days back.

Ashwini Ponnappa bagged a double crown by claiming women's doubles and mixed doubles titles. Top seeds Ashwini and N Sikki Reddy stopped the giant-killing run of unseeded Maharashtra pair of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant in the women's doubles final.

In the mixed doubles final, Ashwini teamed up with teenager Satiwik Sai Raj to annex the mixed doubles final. The new combination shocked top seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N Sikki Reddy 21-9, 20-22, 21-17.

November: China Open: loses singles quarterfinal

Suhas Nayse, Defending champ Sindhu stunned, November 18, 2017: The Times of India


Defending champion PV Sindhu found Chinese teenager Fangjie Gao too hot to handle and bowed out of the China Open Super Series Premier badminton in Fuzhou on Friday.

Nineteen-year-old Gao shattered the hopes of Sindhu with a clinical 21-11, 21-10 win in a one-sided women’s singles quarterfinal. Throughout the 38-minute encounter, Sindhu never looked in control and was completely surprised by the qualifier ranked 89th in the world.

Aiming to defend the title, Sindhu’s bid was foiled by an inspired local girl, regarded as one of the most promising shuttlers in China after the era of three Wangs and Olympic champion Li Xuerui.

November: Lost in Hong kong Super Series

November 26, 2017: The Times of India


PV Sindhu's gallant fight ended in agony as she suffered a second successive loss to world no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei at the summit clash of the $400,000 Hong Kong Super Series.

Playing her fifth straight tournament, Sindhu, who had a 3-7 head-to-head record against Tai before the match, never lacked in fitness and fought throughout the match before going down 18-21 18-21 to the defending champion in a 44-minute women's singles final.

This is Sindhu's second loss in the four finals that she reached this season. She had lost to Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the World Championship final, while clinched two titles at India and Korea this year. In the opening game which lasted 21 minutes, Tai moved to a 3-0 lead early on before Sindhu made a good judgement at the baseline to log the first points. However, Tai unleashed her wide repertoire of strokes and varied the pace well to lead 7 -2.

Sindhu then started to dominate the rallies by using her deep clears and drew the Taiwanese close to the net. She used her reach to catch the shuttle early and placed it in difficult positions to narrow the deficit to 6-7.

A deceptive net return gave Tai a point. The Taiwanese then produced a smash on the deep backhand corner of Sindhu and moved to 10-7. Sindhu unleashed a body smash to perfection before Tai's flat straight return bamboozled the Indian.

At the break, the Taiwan had a three point advantage.

After the breather ,Tai committed a couple of unforced errors at both the flanks, while Sindhu came up with a backhand return near the net to reduce the margin to 10-13 but Tai quickly recovered to extend her domination to 16-13.

Sindhu tried to anticipate her deceptive rival and put Tai in awkward positions a few times, but she hit long or at the net to allow the Taiwanese lead 18-14. A gritty Sindhu, however, kept breathing down her neck and soon clawed back at 18-18.

During the next rally, the string of the Sindhu's racquet broke and Tai unleashed a smash which left the Indian frustrated. Tai produced another smash on Sindhu backhand to move to game point. She then grabbed the opening game after winning a video referral when her shuttle landed on the line.

In the second game, Sindhu was left to deal with some indecision due to the sidewise drift which gave early advantage to Tai but the gritty Indian levelled the score at 4-4 with a superb return at her rival's forehand.

The duo moved to 7-7 before Tai hit wide and lost a referral too.

Sindhu produced a overhead backhand flick, a deceptive return at the forecourt and another smash to move to 10-7 before entering the lemon break with a two-point advantage when Tai found the net. However, Tai dominated the proceedings after the interval, despite a fighting Sindhu trying to snap at her heels.

The Indian lost a referral and then failed to retrieve a shot at the forecourt as Tai led 12-11.

At 13-12, Sindhu was not allowed a video referral by the line judge and after that the match slipped away from the Indian even as Tai produced a stroke on Sindhu's forehand to perfection. With the Indian failing to finish the rallies, it allowed Tai to lead 17-12.

Another weak return by Sindhu and Tai was leading 18-12. The Indian produced a cross court smash to break the rhythm, but she again hit long. Tai faltered at the net and then miscued a lift from the front court. She then hit long as Sindhu conjured up hopes of a turn around, moving to 16-19.

However, a long rally ensued which ended with Sindhu's lift going long and Tai earned the match point at 20-16. Sindhu saved two match points before a perfect drop shot from Tai sealed the title for the Chinese Taipei shuttler.

2017, Dec. rankings

Srikanth fourth in rankings, December 8, 2017: The Times of India


Kidambi Srikanth improved a rung to be at the 4th position, while promising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen entered the World top 100 after jumping 19 places to reach the 89th spot in the latest BWF ranking.HS Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth were static at the 10th place and 17th spots respectively. In women’s singles, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal retained their third and 10th places respectively.

2018

 BWF World Tour

Saina loses to Tzu Ying in QF

October 27, 2018: The Times of India


Olympic medallist Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s impressive run at the French Open ended with yet another loss to World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, this time at the quarterfinals of the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament here on Friday.

Saina looked in good touch initially but couldn’t match the pace of Tzu Ying later on to squander four game points and lose the opening game. She was no match to her rival in the second and eventually went down 20-22, 11-21 in the quarterfinals here.

It was Saina’s 12th straight defeat to the Chinese Taipei shuttler, who showed incredible temperament and determination to seal the contest after being 9-16 and 16-20 down in the opening game. Tzu Ying now has an overwhelming 14-5 head-to-head record against Saina.

Earlier, PV Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-game win over Japan’s Sayaka Sato but B Sai Praneeth crashed out in men’s singles on Thursday night. Sindhu, seeded third, dished out a compact game to outwit Sayaka 21-17, 21-16 in a second round match on Thursday to set up a clash with seventh seeded Chinese He Bingjiao.

However, Praneeth was no match for Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, going down 16-21, 14-21 in a men’s singles match.

The men’s doubles pairs of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy too put up a good show, progressing to the quarterfinals with straight game wins.

China Open World Tour

Srikanth advances; Prannoy bows out

Suhas Nayse, Satwiksairaj-Ashwini Pair Moves Up, September 21, 2018: The Times of India


A day after Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy knocked out world No. 13 Chinese Taipei pair, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa stunned world No. 12 pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England in the China Open World Tour Super 1000 tournament in Changzhou.

Reigning national mixed doubles champions Satwiksairaj and Ashwini overcame a mid-match slump to edge out Commonwealth Games silver medallists Ellis and Smith 21-13, 20-22, 21-17.

Kidambi Srikanth overcame a late fightback from Rasmus Gemke to post a 21-9, 21-19 win in the men’s singles first round. In a first match between the two players, seventh seed Srikanth ousted Denmark’s Gemke, ranked 23 in the world, with brilliant display.

The 2014 champion will now lock horns with Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand for a spot in the quarters. The Thai player is world No. 28 and Srikanth has a perfect 2-0 record against him. But they havent’s faced each other since 2013 Malaysia GP Gold.

Srikanth’s practice partner HS Prannoy failed to clear the first round hurdle. The national champion lost to eighth seed Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong 16-21, 12-21.

In a big upset, Gao Fangjie of China upset world No. 1 and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 21-17, 21-16 in 37 minutes.

INDIAN RESULTS (Round 1) Men’s singles: 7-Kidambi Srikanth bt Rasmus Gemke (Denmark) 21-9, 21-19; HS Prannoy lost to 8-Ng Ka Long Angus (Hong Kong) 16-21, 12-21; Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty lost to Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia) 19-21, 20-22; Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy lost to Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong (Korea) 10-21, 18-21; Mixed doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (England) 21-13, 20-22, 21-17.

Sindhu, Srikanth reach quarters

Suhas Nayse, September 21, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth survived scares against their respective opponents — both from Thailand — to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open in Changzhou on Thursday.

Third seed Sindhu rallied against Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-23, 21-13, 21-18 in a marathon match which lasted for an hour and nine minutes. Sindhu went in as the favourite, with a 8-0 head-tohead record against the 22-year-old. However, Busanan came up with a much-improved display to test the Indian.

In the men’s singles second round, Srikanth came from a match-point down to pip Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-12, 15-21, 24-22 in 63 minutes.

After promising a lot in the last couple of days, India’s doubles campaign came to an end in the pre-quarters.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa lost 14-21, 11-21against top seeds Siwei Zheng and Huang Yaqiong of China. Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy also could not get the better of sixth seeds Christinna Pedersen and Mathias Christiansen of Denmark and lost in straight games. In the men’s doubles, Mannu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy were overwhelmed by Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin 9-21, 10-21.

Sindhu, Srikanth lose in quarters

Suhas Nayse, September 22, 2018: The Times of India


Indian challenge in China Open Badminton tournament came to an end with the defeats of PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth at Changzhou on Friday. Third seed Sindhu went down fighting against Chen Yufei of China 11-21, 21-11, 15-21 in 52 minutes. The fifth seed Chinese shattered the hopes of the Indian with a commanding performance.

The 2016 champion Sindhu had a psychological advantage going into the match against the local girl as she was leading 4-2 in terms of head-to-head record. Sindhu had also won the last two encounters against the Chinese but on Friday she failed to extend her dominance and crashed out.

In the deciding third game, Yufei established an early lead and maintained it till the end. The only survivor in the men’s singles Srikanth also bowed out. The seventh seed found third seed Kento Momota too hot to handle and lost 9-21, 11-21 in 28 minutes.

The in-form Japanese made the light work of former world No. 1 and stormed into the semifinals in style. The last week champion at the Japan Open look set to pocket yet another title in the dream season. With this crushing win, Momota now improved his career record against Srikanth to 8-3. It was second quarterfinal defeat for Srikanth in as many weeks.

Indian coach Amrish Shinde was disappointed with the result but admitted that Sindhu fought gallantly.

Sindhu, Srikanth ousted in QF

November 10, 2018: The Times of India


Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were ousted from the China Open World Tour Super 750 on Friday after losing their singles quarterfinals matches here. While Sindhu yet again struggled to go past China's He Bingjiao in women's singles, Srikanth fell in straight-games to world number 3 Chou Tien Chen in the men's singles event. Third seeded Sindhu lost 17-21 21-17 15-21 to the eighth-seeded Chinese. It was Indian shuttler’s third loss to Bingjiao, who had defeated her at the Indonesia Open and French Open in July and October this year.

Later Srikanth paid the price for being too erratic as he lost 14-21, 14-21 in 35 minutes to Chen, who has been in good form this season with three titles from five final appearances.

Earlier, the left-handed Bingjiao controlled the rallies by executing her strokes perfectly and used her deft touch to outwit Sindhu. The Indian frittered away a 8-3 advantage early on to lose the opening game but made a roaring comeback in the second before losing the decider after a late charge.

Sindhu had started well to take a 4-1 lead early on before moving to 8-3 but Bingjiao managed to claw back at 9-9. Sindhu made it to 17-18 before Bingjiao pocketed the opening game. In the second game, Sindhu turned the tables as she moved to 6-5 and then grabbed a 11-7 lead. In the decider, Bingjiao was more sure-footed than Sindhu as she executed her plan well to take a 11-6 advantage at the interval. The Chinese managed to eke out a 15-8 lead before Sindhu produced a late charge to claw back to 15-16. But Bingjiao didn’t give any chance to the Indian after that as she reeled off the remaining points to cement her place in the semifinals.

Commonwealth Games

Biju BabuCyriac, Displaying Her Trademark Grit, A Resurgent Nehwal Downs Sindhu For A Famous Triumph, April 16, 2018: The Times of India

One is the pathbreaker in the sport in India. The other, the opponent, is the new sensation. And when the two clashed in the final of women’s badminton at the Commonwealth Games here, spectators the world over got nearly an hour of exhilarating edge-ofthe-seat action. Former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal gave a master-class of attacking badminton to win India’s 26th gold, beating teammate and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu on the final day at the Games here on Sunday.

It was one of India’s bestever showing in a Games abroad — 26 gold, 20 silver and 20 bronze, across nine disciplines. And fittingly, India’s final gold came from the pioneering shuttler Saina, who beat Sindhu in 21-18, 23-21 in the final. The 56-minute blockbuster got the fans on the edge of their seats at the Carrara Sports Arena as the two of the world’s best players traded rallies — the best being a 64-stroke heart-stopper in the second game — and fought tooth and nail for each point.

It was a clash of contrasting styles. Saina, who opened the proceedings, took a 6-4 lead in the first game forcing the point with a superb crosscourt drop after dictating terms in a long rally. Soon she was stretching her lead to 12-6 but an agitated Sindhu pulled the next three points back to narrow the gap to 9-12.

Saina, appearing more agile now after having shed some weight during her preparations for Gold Coast, then forced an error from Sindhu at the net but the lanky Hyderabadi returned the compliment to stay in the hunt at 11-16. Even as Sindhu tried to wriggle out of the corner, Saina moved ahead to 20-14 and set up six game points. Sindhu now found a different gear to race up with her experienced teammate saving four game points, but Saina was only waiting for her chance and pulled the trigger smashing the winner to an open court to take the first game at 21-18.

The start of the second game saw Saina drifting a bit and Sindhu did the needful to stretch her lead to 9-6 following a 39-stroke rally which Saina netted. A mix of Sindhu’s class and Saina’s errors helped her pull away to 15-10, but the latter was in no mood to let the momentum shift. She came up with series of powerful smashes that Sindhu couldn’t return.

At 14-15, Saina appeared to have the match under control, but Sindhu, who recovered from a minor injury, was in no mood to go down without a fight as she ran up to an 18-14 lead and then took it to 19-16. But Saina was not to let her attacking ways go and won a draining 64-shot rally, it lasted all of 68 seconds, before going level at 19-19.

Sindhu then served on game point but it was soon 20-20. Next it was Sindhu’s turn to save a match point but it was all over soon with Saina smashing away to victory getting past of the best of retrievals from Sindhu. It was an epic clash and in the end, her experience and a seemingly newfound ability from Saina came to fore announcing that a change of guard at the top will still take some time.

Srikanth ends second best

World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth was forced to settle for silver after losing a riveting match in the men’s singles final to Malaysian Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 14-21, 14-21.

Chong Wei raced to a 5-0 lead in the opener but Srikanth, who beat the Malaysian in the team event here, caught up with the 36-year-old three-time Olympic silver medalist at 7-7. The next seven points saw an array of superb strokes from both the players. The two were again level at 15-15, 17-17 and 19-19 but Srikanth kept his nose in front finding vacant spots on the court. In the end, it was Srikanth who took the game at 21-19.

The second game, which saw a 42-stroke rally, began in the same fashion with both the players going for the deceptive angles and net flicks in addition to the power hitting. It was all even till the break at 11 but Chong Wei soon opened up a lead. The Malaysian opened up a big lead again in the third as Srikanth got buried under his errors. Chong Wei was up 7-1 in no time and from then on Srikanth had a hard time catching up.

Denmark Open BWF Tour Super 750

Saina beats Tunjung, enters final; Srikanth loses to Momota

Manne Ratnakar, October 21, 2018: The Times of India


Saina Nehwal was one step away from winning her first major title in two years at the Denmark Open in Odense. However, Kidambi Srikanth was dethroned in the semifinal by world champion Kento Momota of Japan 16-21, 12-21. Momota was at his retrieving best in the semifinal. Saina steamrolled reigning junior world champion Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 21-11, 21-12 in just 30 minutes to book a final berth against Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

Saina told Badminton Europe that she is happy to be in a final after a long gap. "I feel great to be playing finals. After the surgery I have not been getting my rhythm. But after the Asian Games, I started playing well and moving well. Even at the Korea Open I lost a very close match against Okuhara. She went on to win that tournament. I had to be patient and here I am playing the finals. Belief makes a lot of difference," Saina said, adding that semifinal is not as easy as the scoreline suggests.

"It's not easy to play someone who plays so many tricky shots. It was tough but I was able to pick those shots. I moved well and my shots were much more sharper."

Incidentally, this was Saina's first Super Series final in two years after she won the Australian Open. The 28-yearold, who was in full flow against Japanese shuttlers Akane Yamaguchi in second round and Nozomi Okuhara in the quarters, was at her best against Mariska on Saturday.

The world No.19 Indonesian, who has never beaten a top ranked player so far, proved no match for the Indian. Saina toyed with Mariska.

Women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy went down to top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan 14-21, 12-21.

Saina beats Yamaguchi for first time in 4 years

Manne Ratnakar, Saina ends the jinx, October 19, 2018: The Times of India


Beats Yamaguchi For First Time In 4 Years To Enter QF

Saina Nehwal was at her fluent best as she outclassed world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-15, 21-17 to move into the quarterfinals of the Denmark Open BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament in Odense on Thursday.

This was Saina’s first victory over the Japanese in four years. The last time Saina triumphed against Yamaguchi was in the China Open back in 2014.

Sameer Verma also continued his good run and joined Saina in the quarterfinals along with the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy. Extending his giant-killing run, Verma, who ousted world No.2 in the first round, accounted for Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie in the second. Verma registered a hard fought 23-21, 6-21, 22-20 victory against the Indonesian in the one hour-10 minute encounter. Verma will now square up against the winner of the match between Kidambi Srikanth and Lin Dan of China.

Unseeded pair of Ashwini and Sikki knocked out seventh seeded south Koreans Lee So Hee and Shing Seung Chan in three games 18-21, 22-20, 21-18.

Earlier, Saina eased past Yamaguchi in just 36 minutes. This is Saina’s first victory against Yamaguchi since November 2014. The Indian ace lost to the Japanese shuttler six consecutive times before the Denmark meeting. A relieved Saina, who was struggling in major BWF events, told Badminton Europe that she was happy to break the jinx against Yamaguchi.

Saina loses to Tai in the final

Manne Ratnakar, Saina fails to solve Tai puzzle yet again, October 22, 2018: The Times of India


Saina Nehwal did her best, came back strongly but couldn’t find a way to get past Tai Tzu Ying in the final of the Denmark Open BWF Tour Super 750 tournament in Odense on Sunday.

Once again, the world No.1 from Chinese Taipei arguably proved the most difficult opponent of Saina’s career. Though Saina won a game, raising hopes of a fine come-from-behind victory, Tai still reigned supreme at 21-13, 13-21, 21-6.

Tai became the first shuttler from Taipei to clinch the Denmark Open title. Though she has won almost all the Super Series titles, Denmark always proved a roadblock for her. On Sunday, despite a little bother provided by Saina, that record was set right.

In her element right from the first point, Tai repeatedly changed her tactics to quell a determined Saina, who fought ferociously for most part of the final.

Her crafty net game, loaded with a lot of disguise and accurate on-the-line smashes earned her easy points as it came coupled with her effortless retrieving ability. Tai was already leading 11-5 at the break.

Saina upped the ante and played some brilliant smashes but Tai did well to protect the big lead she had gained.

In the second game, Saina pushed the shuttle back and hardly allowed Tai to come near the net. The ploy worked as Tai's returns looked weak giving the Indian an upperhand. Saina took an 8-3 lead and maintained that control throughout the game. Despite losing the second game, Tai realised where she was going wrong. Towards the end, she had begun returning sharply packing the bird with a lot of pace. This is her 11th straight loss against Tai since 2013. But the silver lining for the Indian was that she had managed to extend the tie to three games for the first time in three years. The last time Saina won a game against Tai was in December 2015.

Momota triumphs

Japan’s Kento Momota won the men’s singles title with a 22-20, 16-21, 21-15 victory against Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the final.

Sameer stuns Shi in major upset

Manne Ratnakar, Sameer stuns Shi in major upset; Marin crashes out, October 18, 2018: The Times of India


Sameer Verma caused one of the major upsets of the tournament when he knocked out world No.2 Shi Yuqi of China 21-17, 21-18 in the first round of the Denmark Open BWF Tour Super 750 in Odense, late on Tuesday.

The world No.23 Indian took just 44 minutes to oust Yuqi. Verma will now take on world No.13 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who defeated Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong 17-21, 21-18, 21-13. Verma enjoys a 1-0 win-loss record against Christie.

Seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth eased into the second round with a 21-16, 21-10 victory against Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark. Srikanth will face multiple world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China in the second round. Though Lin Dan has a 3-1 career record against Srikanth, the former world No.1 has been struggling in the last few months.

The other Indian in men’s singles, Sai Praneeth will take the court late on Wednesday. Women’s singles also witnessed another major upset as reigning world and Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain suffered a 19-21, 21-14, 19-21 shock defeat to local girl and world No. 20 Mia Blichfeldt. Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy was the only Indian doubles team to clear the first round.

Srikanth beats Lin Dan

October 20, 2018: The Times of India


Kidambi Srikanth defeated the legendary Lin Dan for the second time in his career to set up an all-Indian quarterfinal against Sameer Verma at the Denmark Open here. World number six Srikanth bounced back to beat the world number 14 from China 18-21, 21-17, 21-16 in the second round clash played.

Dan, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion, is not the player he used to be but is still a force to reckon with. It was a fifth meeting between Srikanth and Dan and the Chinese great won the last time they played, in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Srikanth had famously scored his maiden win over Dan to win the 2014 China Open.

After a tough match against the Chinese, Srikanth will have to play fellow Indian Verma in the quarterfinals to be held later on Friday. World number 23 Verma had beaten 2018 Asian Games gold medallist, Jonathan Christie of Indonesia, in his second round match.

French Open BWF

Sindhu, Srikanth exit

Sindhu, Srikanth exit French Open, October 28, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth crashed out in the quarterfinals of the French Open after suffering straight-game defeats in their respective matches as India’s campaign ended in the singles events at the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament. Third seed Sindhu looked a pale shadow of herself as she lost 13-21, 16-21 in 40 minutes against seventh seed He Bingjiao of China.

It was Sindhu’s second consecutive loss at the hands of the Chinese shuttler this year after her straight-game defeat in Indonesia Open in July. By virtue of this win, Bingjiao extended her head-to-head record to 7-5 against the Indian.

To make matters worse for India, fifth seed Srikanth gave a good account of himself but eventually lost steam against top seed Kento Momota of Japan. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Sen suffered a straight-game loss to world no 1 pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the semifinals.


Ayhika wins silver, Anthony-Sanil clinches bronze in Belgium Open TT

New Delhi: Ayhika Mukherjee settled for a silver medal after going down 1-3 to Korea’s Youjin Kim in the final of the ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in the under-21 women’s singles category. Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty too fought their way into the medals’ bracket, bagging a bronze in the men’s doubles. Ayhika put up a brave fight in the summit clash but Kim proved to be a tough nut to crack in the end. In the semifinals, Ayhika had defeated Hong Kong’s Chengzhu Zhu 3-1 to enter the finals.

In men’s doubles, Amalraj-Shetty started slowly, losing a tight opening game 10-12 to the Belgian pair of Olav Kosolosky and Laurens Devos. They had a tough second game too which they eventually managed to win 15-13. There was no stopping them thereafter.


Sethuraman holds Anand

Isle of Man: Grandmaster S P Sethuraman played out an easy draw as white against five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in the seventh round of Isle of Man International Chess tournament here on Saturday. Both Anand and Sethuraman inched themselves up to five points out of a possible seven and shared the joint eighth spot. Michael Adams of England took advantage of this draw-melee to join the six overnight leaders on 5.5 points defeating erstwhile joint leader Abhijeet Gupta.


Greco Roman wrestlers out of Worlds

Budapest: India’s campaign at the World Championship ended with Greco Roman wrestlers on the final day of the competitions, here on Saturday. Of three grapplers in action, only Hardeep managed to win a bout when he downed Morocco’s Choucri Atafi 8-4 in the 1/16 in the 97kg category. Later he lost his 1/8 bout 1-4 to Laokratis Kesidis from Greece.

Srikanth, Saina in QF

Srikanth & Saina in French QF, October 26, 2018: The Times of India


Defending champion Kidambi Srikanth and India ace Saina Nehwal made their way to the quarterfinals of the USD 750,000 French Open BWF World Tour Super 750 here Thursday. Srikanth showed great determination to outwit Korea’s world no 25 Lee Dong Keun 12-21, 21-16, 21-18 in a secondround clash that clocked an hour and 13 minutes. The Indian had lost twice to the 27-year-old Korean in the past two meetings.

Saina, who had reached the finals at Denmark Open last week, continued her good run by outwitting former World champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 10-21, 21-14, 21-17 in another exciting contest.

Hong Kong Open

Srikanth, Sameer enter quarter-finals

November 16, 2018: The Times of India


Former world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma sailed into the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Open while PV Sindhu was shown the door in Kowloon.

In a see-saw battle which went down to the wire, Srikanth defeated compatriot HS Prannoy 18-21, 30-29, 21-18 while Sameer got a walkover against Chen Long of China. After winning a exhausting second game in which the lead changed hands a number of times, Srikanth secured a seven-point lead (11-4) in the third game. But Prannoy clawed back and caught up with Srikanth at 16-16. Thereafter, Srikanth won the big points to clinch the contest.

In the quarters, Srikanth will square up against the winner of the tie between Kenta Nishimoto of Japan and Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand. Sameer will face qualifier Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong. Sindhu lost to former world No.2 Ji Hyun Sung of Korea 24-26, 20-22 in a close match.


Lakshya in pre-quarters

Lakshya Sen and two Indian doubles pairs made it to the pre-quarterfinals of the BWF World Junior Championship in Markham, Canada, on Wednesday.

Fourth seed Lakshya made short work of Giovanni Toti of Italy 21-7, 21-13. He will face ninth seed Chen Shiau Cheng of Chinese Taipei on Thursday.

Men’s doubles duo of Srikrishna Sai Kumar Podile and Vishnu Vardhan Goud defeated Joel Hansson and Melker Z-Bexell of Sweden to move into the pre-quarterfinals.

In women’s doubles pair of Aditi Bhatt and Tanisha Crasto downed Dilmi Das and Anurangi Masakorala of Sri Lanka in straight games 22-20, 21-10.

Kidami Srikanth, Sameer Verma lose

Indian challenge ends in HK, November 17, 2018: The Times of India


India’s challenge ended with Kidami Srikanth and Sameer Verma being knocked out of the Hong Kong Open BWF Super 500 event in Kowloon.

Fourth seed Srikanth went down to eighth seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 17-21, 13-21. This was Srikanth’s first loss against Nishimoto in four meetings. Later, Sameer Verma faltered against qualifier Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong 15-21, 21-19, 11-21. The only consolation for the shuttlers this year was Sindhu reaching the finals of three major events.

However, Sindhu qualified for the yearend event in China. But with only two more qualifying tournaments left — Syed Modi International and Scottish Open — Srikanth and Sameer are unlikely to make the cut. Only eight players qualify in each category and Srikanth is placed 14th spot and Sameer 12th. Sindhu is fifth in the qualifiers list.


Lakshya, doubles pair in quarters

Meanwhile, Lakshya Sen and the men’s doubles pair of Srikrishna Sai Kumar Podile and Vishnu Vardhan Goud entered the quarterfinals of the BWF World Junior Championship in Canada.

Lakshya beat Chen Shiau Cheng of Chinese Taipei 15-21, 21-17, 21-14. Lakshya will face Malaysia’s Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin next. Srikrishna and Vishnu eased past Dwiki Rafian Restu and Bernadus Bagas Kusuma of Indonesia 21-11, 21-17. They will face tenth-seeded Koreans Tae Yang Shin and Chan Wang.

India Open: PV Sindhu, sixth loss in a final since Olympics

Saumyajit Basu, Sindhu slips in the final, February 5, 2018: The Times of India


Zhang Is The New Champion; Shi Yuqi Claims Men’s Crown

In the end, a Chinese and an American of Chinese descent swept the honours on the final day.

After Shi Yuqi won the men’s singles title to become the first Chinese to do so in the India Open, Beiwan Zhang taught PV Sindhu such a bitter lesson that she refused to attend the customary aftermatch press meet on Sunday evening. For Sindhu, it was her sixth loss in a final since her Olympic silver, to go with two title wins.

Sindhu kept hopes alive till the very end but Zhang looked destined to write a beautiful story of her own. Having already scalped Saina Nehwal on Friday, she upstaged Sindhu 21-18, 11-21, 22-20 to win her first Tour title to fulfil a longcherished dream.

“I wanted to win a tour title this year,” the world No. 11 had said after her quarterfinal victory over Saina. That she could tilt the tightly-fought final game on Sunday her way, is something she would savour for long. “It is the best moment of my career,” the 27-old Zhang said after matching the world No. 4 point for point.

“I used the smash more than usual to quell Sindhu, who seemed to be under a lot of pressure. She was playing in front of the home crowd. I had nothing to lose,” said a beaming Zhang, before rushing off to catch the earliest flight out.

While the fifth seeded Zhang pocketed $26,250 and 9200 ranking points for her effort, Sindhu had to be content with $13,300 and 7800 ranking points.

Unlike Zhang, Shi Yuqi used the smash with rare precision to undo Chou Tien’s challenge. What Lin Dan couldn’t achieve in his few attempts, Yuqi did it in his first. “I am not a big fan of Super Dan,” said the champion moments after he calmly decimated Chou Tien Chen 21-18, 21-14. Even trailing till 17 in the first game, the 21-year old Chinese never looked ill at ease. Armed with an intelligent all-court game programmed by anticipation, Yuqi even returned Chou Tien’s supposed winners, much to the frustration of the Chinese Taipei player. He clocked four points on the bounce to reach game point and logged home the first with a lot of confidence.

In the second, however, Yuki didn’t let Chou Tien nose ahead. Consummately in control and using the smash only when absolutely sure of it being a winner, Yuki showed that his second singles title, after the French Open in 2016, was just a dawn of a shining day ahead. “He is sure to make the China’s Thomas Cup team,” said an official accompanying the China team.

RESULTS (ALL FINALS) — Men's singles 4-Shi Yuqi bt 3-Chou Tien Chen 21-18, 21-14 ; Women's singles 5-Beiwen Zhang bt 1-PV Sindhu 21-18, 11-21, 22-20; Men's doubles: 1-Marcus Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya bt 4-Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-14, 21-16; Women's doubles: 3-Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu bt 2-Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai 21-18, 21-15; Mixed doubles: 5-Mathias Christiansen/ Christinna Pedersen bt Praveen Jordan/ Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-14, 21-15.

Indonesia Open BWF

Manne Ratnakar, Sindhu, Prannoy bow out as Indian challenge ends, July 7, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy bowed out in the quarterfinals of the Indonesia Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament in Jakarta. With the exit of these two shuttlers, the Indian challenge ended in the $1.25 million tournament. Sindhu lost to China’s He Bingjiao 21-14, 21-15 and Shi Yuqi defeated Prannoy 21-17, 21-18.

Prannoy failed to win the big points towards the end of both games. At 18-18 in the second he committed unforced errors and surrendered the advantage to his Chinese rival. Sindhu failed to find her range even as Bingjiao controlled the game. The Indian kept pace with her rival till 10-10, thereafter it was Binjiao all the way. From 13-11, the Chinese girl raced ahead giving the Indian no chance to come back.

Not giving much lift to the bird, Binjiao restricted Sindhu from executing her trademark smashes or overhead drives. It was no different in the second game as Binjiao broke free from the 7th point to emerge victorious.

Japan Open BWF Tour Super 750

Manu-Sumeeth beat Olympics silver medallists

Manne Ratnakar, Stunning win for Manu-Sumeeth duo, September 13, 2018: The Times of India


Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy stunned Rio Olympics silver medallists Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 15-21, 23-21, 21-19 to make it to the pre-quarterfinals of the Japan Open BWF Tour Super 750 tournament in Tokyo.

The Indians saved a match point to beat the Malaysian in 54 minutes. Staring down the barrel at 19-20 in the second game, Manu-Sumeeth won two crucial points to force the decider. In the keenly-contested third game, the Indians trailed 17-19 but did well to seal the issue.

It was this killer instinct that was missing from this pair. At the Asian Games in Jakarta, the duo could have won a medal. Leading 20-18 in the third game, they lost to Chinese pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in the pre-quarterfinals.

“We are playing well now. We kept our nerves and supported each other. This victory will give us a lot of confidence for future,” Attri said. The world No. 28 Indians will face world No.18 Chinese pair of Qiang Tan and He Jiting in the second round. This would be the first meeting between the two teams.

The junior men’s doubles team of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and the women's outfit of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy lost their first round matches. While Satwik/Chirag lost to third-seeded Japanese Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 12-21, 17-21, Ashwini-Sikki went down to South Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun 17-21, 13-21.

PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and the mixed doubles duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy will play their second round matches. Sindhu faces Chin’s Gao Fangjie.

Sameer wins Swiss, Kashyap Austrian Open

February 26, 2018: The Times of India


Sameer Verma won the first biggest title for India in 2018 by emerging triumphant in the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament in Basel on Sunday.

Though they reached the finals, neither Saina Nehwal (Indonesia Masters) nor PV Sindhu (India Open) could clinch the titles this season. But Sameer faced no such final blues as he notched up a fluent victory against former Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 21-15, 21-13.

The Pullela Gopichand Academy trainee needed just 36 minutes to ease past the former world No.2. Jorgensen, who won the World Championships bronze in 2015, was out of sorts as Sameer looked in full low. Sameer started with a 3-0 lead in the first game and the closest Jorgensen came was at 10-12. Sameer then produced a five-point burst to took the issue beyond the Dane.

Sameer was even more dominant in the second game as he took off from 11-9 to 17-9 in one serve.

A few hours earlier about 720 kilomtres away from Basil, Sameer’s senior pro Parupalli Kashyap clinched the Austrian Open.

Ending a long title drought, Kashyap annexed the Austrian Open International Challenge title with a convincing victory against June Wei Cheam of Malaysia 23-21, 21-14. The 31-year-old, who was struggling to comeback after recurring injuries, was in complete control despite a tough first game.

Having enduring tough time ever since he won the Commonwealth Games men's singles gold at Glasgow in 2014, Kashyap is pleased with the victory.

“For any player it is important to win titles, I’ve to get into a habit of winning titles,” Kashyap told ToI from Vienna. The seasoned campaigner is always hailed as the shuttler who make rapid strides before the younger lot led by Kidambi Srikanth began dominating men's singles.

Kashyap always believes that he has several good years of badminton left in him. Even last year he reached the finals of US Open.

The shuttler now wants to focus on getting some ranking points which would help him improve his ranking. “With this win I will get some points which will help to improve my ranking. I am playing some tournaments in Europe next month. So I hope to continue this winning form there as well. I’ve to keep improving myself,” he said.

Sindhu, Prannoy bow out; Srikanth enters quarterfinals

September 14, 2018: The Times of India


Fatigue caught up with India’s premier shuttler PV Sindhu as she was upstaged in straight games but Kidambi Srikanth entered quarterfinals of the $700,000 Japan Open here Thursday. Sindhu was beaten by China’s Gao Fangjie in the women’s singles second round, her first preliminary exit in almost a year. The Indian went down fighting 18-2119-21in 55 minutes to the world no 14 Chinese. She had lost in the opening round at the Denmark Open in October 2017.

Former world no.1 Srikanth, however, didn’t break a sweat as he avenged his Asian Games loss to Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent with a clinical 21-15, 21-14 victory to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals. The seventhseeded Indian, who won a silver at the Commonwealth Games, will face Korea’s Lee Dong Keun next.

However, it was curtains for the other Indian in the men’s draw, HS Prannoy, as he went down to giant-killer Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. The world no.10 Indonesian defeated formidable Japanese Kento Momota and Olympic champion Chen Long at the Asian Games.

Sindhu, who has endured a hectic BWF season reaching five finals including three majors at CWG, World Championship and Asian Games, seemed mentally drained as errors crept into her game. The Indian put up a decent fight as she recovered from 2-8 down in the opening game but squandered a 17-14 lead.

Syed Modi International

Sameer Verma won the men's singles crown

Saina falters in final, Verma wears crown, November 26, 2018: The Times of India


India's Sameer Verma won the men's singles crown at the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 badminton tournament, rallying well to defeat China's Lu Guangzu 16-21, 21-19, 21-14.

Sameer's win, which came in 70 minutes, was lone bright spot for India as the others who made the final rounds lost. Former

champion Saina Nehwal failed to produce her best, losing in straight games to young Han Yue of China in a one-sided women's singles summit clash.

Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also went down in straight games against second seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia to settle for the runners-up prize in the men's doubles competition.

It was heartbreak for Saina, who lost to Han 18-21, 8-21 in a 34-minute final. Saina, who won a gold and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, had ended second best at the Indonesia Masters in January and Denmark Open in October this year.

In the men's doubles, Satwik and Chirag squandered a 18-14 lead in the second game to lose 11-21, 20-22 to world No. 7 Alfian and Ardianto in a 38-minute match.

Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy too had to settle for the silver medal in women's doubles, losing in straight games (15-21, 13-21) to Malaysia's Chow Mei Kuan and lee Meng Yean.

Verma wins Dutch BWFTour Super 100 title

Sourabh wins Dutch Open title, October 15, 2018: The Times of India


Sourabh Verma won the Dutch Open BWFTour Super 100 badminton tournament in Almere, Netherlands.

Verma defeated June Wei Cheam of Malaysia 21-19, 21-13 in the final. The unseeded Indian ousted top seed Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in the semifinals on Saturday.

The 25-year-old shuttler, who trains at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, had won the Russia Open earlier this year. Dutch Open is Verma's third international title. In 2016 Verma won the Chinese Taipei Masters.

World Junior Badminton Championship

India loses mixed event

November 10, 2018: The Times of India


Jr World Cup: India bow out in mixed event

Markham (Canada): India went down fighting 1-3 to South Korea in the mixed team quarterfinals of the world junior badminton championships, despite Lakshya Sen's superb efforts here. Asian Junior champion, Lakshya lived up to expectations but the two losses in the doubles category virtually sealed India's fate and it was all over after the women singles defeat.

World Tour Finals, Gaungzhou

Sindhu beats champion Yamaguchi, Verma falters

Manne Ratnakar, Sindhu off to flying start in World Tour Finals, December 13, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu was off to a good start but Sameer Verma faltered on the first day of the BWF World Tour Finals in Gaungzhou. In a hard-fought encounter, Sindhu defeated defending champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 24-22, 21-15 while Sameer went down to world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan 18-21, 6-21.

Sindhu fought back from big deficits in the first game to prevail over Yamaguchi. The Japanese shuttler was cruising ahead with a 11-6 and 18-12 advantage. But once Sindhu got her range she showed a lot of discipline, made some brilliant retrieves and caught up with Yamaguchi at 19-19.

Sindhu saved two game points (20-21, 21-22) before winning the game after Yamaguchi hit the bird into the net at 23-22.

In the second game, Yamaguchi was too defensive, allowing Sindhu to take control of the game. From 10-11, Sindhu secured eight consecutive points to move into a commanding lead of 18-11.

Sindhu finally beats No. 1, Tai Tzu

Manne Ratnakar, Sindhu shocks No. 1 Tai Tzu, December 14, 2018: The Times of India


PV Sindhu continued her red-hot form at the BWF World Tour Finals as she stunned world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying 14-21, 21-16, 21-18 to win her second Group ‘A’ league match in Guangzhou on Thursday. With this victory, the first against Tai after six losses, Sindhu improved her chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Sameer Verma kept his chances alive with a 21-16, 21-7 victory against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia. Sameer lost his first Group ‘B’ match on Wednesday and a loss on Thursday would have ended his campaign. Sameer should beat Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand on Friday to qualify for the last four.

Sameer said he was tense playing his first BWF Finals. “I was very tense before the match because I lost yesterday.Court conditions are very slow, but we should learn fast how to manage these conditions. Tomorrow’s match against Kantaphon is very important, I need to stay focused,” Sameer said.

Kento Momota defeated Kantaphon in the other Group ‘B’ match.

Sindhu fought back brilliantly after losing the first game to Tai. She made too many mistakes in the first game but recovered quickly in the second game. In the third, Sindhu was trailing 6-11 before the mandatory change of courts. But Sindhu, who last defeated Tai at the Rio Olympics in 2016, did not lose hope. She cut down the deficit to 11-13 and came up with seven points to take a five-point lead.

Thereafter, Tai tried hard but Sindhu was ready. An elated Sindhu said: “It’s a big win for me after a long time. I gave my 100% in the second. When I was trailing 6-11 in the decider, I kept telling myself that it is not over till the end. She took one point but I won two to three points from each serve,” Sindu said.

Sindhu reaches SFs; Verma knockout stage

Feisty Sindhu reaches semis, December 15, 2018: The Times of India


Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu continued her unbeaten run, while debutant Sameer Verma also qualified for the knockout stage with a straight-game win in his last Group B match at the BWF World Tour Finals. Playing her third successive year-ending finale, Sindhu dished out some deceptive strokes and showed precision during the 35-minute contest to prevail over

world no. 12 Beiwen Zhang 21-9 21-15 in a one-sided women's singles contest to top Group A.

“I was down 2-6 initially but I picked up the lead, so after that I was fine,” Sindhu said after the match.

“I have played a few matches against her after the Indian Open final, so I took it as a fresh match,” added the 23-year-old.

On the adjacent court, 24-year-old Sameer showed great athleticism and produced a masterful performance to demolish Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-9 21-18 in a match that clocked 44 minutes.

Sindhu defeats Okuhara, wins first BWF World Tour title

PV Sindhu defeats Nozomi Okuhara to clinch maiden BWF World Tour Finals title, December 16, 2018: The Times of India


A relieved P V Sindhu let out a joyous scream when she finally laid her hands on a gold medal by claiming the World Tour Finals with a win over 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara.

Wish PV Sindhu on her maiden World Tour Finals title victory

With the straight-game victory, coming after seven straight finals losses, Sindhu became the first Indian to achieve the feat.

Playing her third successive season-ending finale, Sindhu, who had lost in the summit clash to another Japanese, Akane Yamaguchi, to settle for a silver in the last edition, prevailed 21-19 21-17 in a match that lasted an hour and two minutes.

This was her career's 14th title but the year's first. Prior to this in 2018, she has won silver at the World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Thailand Open and India Open.

Dubbed a bridesmaid after falling short of gold on a number of occasions, Sindhu finally broke her jinx, screamed and sunk to her knees.

Saina Nehwal had reached the finals of 2011 World Super Series Finals, while Jwala Gutta and V Diju finished runners up at the 2009 edition.

Sindhu, an Olympic and World Championship silver medallist, was composed and held her nerves at the crucial moments to stay a step ahead of the Japanese through the match.

In the first game, Okuhara made a couple of errors and Sindhu took early lead.

She used some drop shots and looked good at the net to lead 7-3 but Okuhara narrowed down the deficit to 5-7. Sindhu dominated the next long rally and nosed ahead 11-6 at the mid-game break.

After the breather, Sindhu extended her lead to 14-6 before Okuhara reeled off four successive points to narrow the deficit.

Okuhara seemed to control the proceedings next as she erased the deficit to claw back at 16-16. In fact, the Japanese grabbed 10 of the 12 points after being down 6-14 down, to draw parity.

But Okuhara also smashed wide twice to hand Sindhu a 19-17 advantage. The Indian grabbed three game point advantage but Okuhara managed to save two before Sindhu sealed the opening game with a superb drop shot.

Sindhu engaged in long rallies with Okuhara and managed to stay 6-4 ahead at one stage of the second game. The Japanese stretched and controlled the rallies and waited for the Indian to hit out. It worked as she forced her way back at 7-7.

Sindhu, however, managed to always stay ahead and led 11-9 at the interval after Okuhara lost a video referral.

Okuhara tried to push the shuttle back of the court from the baseline and unleashed a body smash to make it 12-13. She kept snapping at her rival's heels to make it 16-17.

A return to the net gave Sindhu a 18-16 lead. A long rally ensued and it ended with Okuhara leaving it shot and Sindhu unleashing a smash to move to 19-16.

A lucky net chord took the Indian one step away from the title. Sindhu grabbed three match points and converted them immediately to seal the issue in her favour.

World Juniors: Bronze for Lakshya

Markham (Canada): Lakshya Sen settled for a bronze medal in the World Junior Badminton Championship after suffering a narrow defeat to top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the singles semifinals here. The 17-yearold from Almora lost 22-20, 16-21, 13-21 to Vitidsarn in a match that went on for an hour and 11 minutes on Saturday.

2019

All England Badminton Championship

Day 1

Suhas Nayse, Sindhu ousted in first round, March 7, 2019: The Times of India


Sai Praneeth Gets Past Compatriot Prannoy To Enter Second Round

The inaugural day of the All England Badminton championship turned out to be a disappointing one for the Indians as their star shuttler PV Sindhu crashed out in the first round in Birmingham. Barring B Sai Praneeth, rest of the Indians in action failed to cross the first-round hurdle.

It was a painful exit for Sindhu. The fifth seed was surprised by unseeded Sung Ji Hyun 16-21, 22-20, 18-21. In a marathon battle which lasted for an hour and 20 minutes, the S. Korean shattered Sindhu’s hopes with a hard-fought victory. Sindhu was well in control initially and was leading on a few occasions in the first game. The Korean suddenly changed gears and reeled off four consecutive points to claim the opener at 21-16.

It was Sung’s second successive and overall seventh victory against Sindhu in their 15th clash so far. Sung will lock horns with Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the second round.

In an all-Indian men’s singles clash, 2017 Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth pipped fellow Gopichand Academy trainee HS Prannoy 21-19, 21-19. With this 52-minute win, Sai Praneeth levelled the head-to-head record at 2-2. Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy gave a big scare to seventh seeds Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto of Japan before losing 21-16, 26-28, 16-21.

The unseeded Indian duo had a match point in the second game but could not capitalize on it and succumbed to pressure. Another Indian women’s doubles pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram fought hard before going down 21-18, 12-21, 12-21 to the Russian duo of Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Daveltova.

Results (Indians): Round 1: Women’s singles: PV Sindhu lost to Sung Ji Hyun (Korea) 16-21, 22-20, 18-21. Men’s singles: B Sai Praneeth bt HS Prannoy 21-19, 21-19. Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy lost to 7-Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (Japan) 21-16, 26-28, 16-21; J Meghana-Poorvisha S Ram lost to Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova (Russia) 21-18, 12-21, 12-21

Day 2

Suhas Nayse, Saina, Srikanth enter quarters, March 8, 2019: The Times of India


The success of Saina Nehwal revolves around her mental toughness. The gutsy Indian once again displayed her strong character as she stormed into the women’s singles quarterfinal in the All England Badminton Championship at Birmingham.

Joining her in the lasteight stage was Kidambi Srikanth, who also registered a three-game victory against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 21-17, 11-21, 21-12 in 58 minutes.

Earlier, Saina thumped Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland 21-17, 21-18 in 35 minutes to launch her campaign on a rousing note.

Seventh seed Srikanth ended the two-match losing streak against Christie, world No.9. Srikanth was almost flawless in the first and third games, dishing out series of down-the-line smashes and brilliant net play. In the quarterfinal, Srikanth will also run into top seed and world No. 1 Kento Momota. The Japanese has a 10-3 record against the Indian.

Earlier, B Sai Praneeth bowed out in the second round. After defeating compatriot HS Prannoy in the first round, Praneeth could not continue his good run and lost 12-21, 17-21 against Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong in 35 minutes.

Day 3

Suhas Nayse, Saina fails to crack Tai Tzu code again, March 9, 2019: The Times of India


Indian Bows Out In Quarters Of All England

The dismal run of Saina Nehwal against Tai Tzu Ying continued as she suffered her 13th straight defeat against the in-form Chinese Taipei shuttler to bow out of the All England Badminton Championship at Birmingham Arena on Friday. In a well-contested women’s singles quarterfinal, top seed Tai Tzu overcame the spirited late challenge from Saina to post a hard-fought 21-15, 21-19 win in 37 minutes.

Much was expected from Saina, 28, after her two brilliant victories in as many days but defending champion Tai Tzu, 24, stopped the Indian in her strides. The world No. 1 has not lost a single match since 2013 against Saina. The world No. 9 gave it her all but her best was not enough against a player, who’s been unstoppable in the last couple of years.

Saina, who will turn 29 next week, was satisfied with her show but admitted that it could have been better.

Asia Junior: India lose to Indonesia, bow out

India lose to Indonesia, bow out of Asia Junior C’ships, July 23, 2019: The Times of India


Maisnam Meiraba put up a brave effort before India bowed out of the Asia Junior Championships after suffering a 0-3 loss to Indonesia in the quarterfinals of the Mixed Team event in Suzhou, China.

In an absorbing battle between two top 20 junior players, World No. 14 Meiraba managed to take a game off his 17th ranked opponent, Bobby Setiabudi but the Indonesian proved too strong in the end with a 21-17, 15-21, 21-11 win in 59 minutes.

The Manipur boy, who won his first international tournament at the White Night Russian Junior International earlier this month, had been in fine form throughout the event and won his matches against Korea and Macau.

Meiraba’s performance, even though in a losing cause, stood out as none of the other results went in India's favour.

In girls’ singles, Malvika Bansod was unlucky to miss out on winning a tight first game and eventually went down fighting 20-22, 7-21 to junior World No. 4 Putri Kusuma Wardani.

Tanisha Crasto and Sathish Kumar Karunakaran suffered a 15-21, 18-21 defeat to Leo Rolly Carnando and Indah Cahya Sari Jamil in mixed doubles.

India had beaten Mongolia and Macau China by an identical score of 5-0 while they lost to Korea 1-4 in the round-robin. Finishing second to Korea in the group stage had confirmed their quarterfinal berth. PTI

Asian Championships: Indians reach only QFs

Indian shuttlers fail to get past QF stage, April 27, 2019: The Times of India


Indian shuttlers will return empty handed from the Badminton Asian Championships as all the three singles players — PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma — bit the dust in the quarterfinals.

Last year, Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy had won bronze medals, but the 54-year gold medal jinx at this championship continues for India. Dinesh Khanna was the last Indian to have won the men’s title way back in 1965. Sameer hardly give a fight to second seed Shi Yuqi of China and crashed to a 10-21, 12-21 loss. Saina, however, fought hard before going down to Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 13-21, 23-21, 16-21. After losing the first game, Saina gained the upper hand after the 12th point and secured an 18-14 lead in the second and forced the decider.

In the third game, Saina started with a 6-1 lead, but the diminutive Japanese girl wiped off the margin and moved up to 17-14 with a six-point burst. Though Saina stopped the surge briefly, Yamaguchi won three successive points to put out the Indian.

Sindhu came a cropper against Cai Yanyan. The Chinese teen took just 31 minutes to silence the Indian 21-19, 21-9. Cai dictated terms in the first game and the 19-year-old Chinese was even more dominant in the second game as she broke free from 7-6.

According to chief coach Pullela Gopichand, the Indian shuttlers are not getting enough time to practice. Since 2019 is an Olympic year, securing ranking points is very important.

BWF Super-500: Doubles teams reach QFs; Saina, Srikanth lose

August 2, 2019: The Times of India


The doubles teams progressed at the Thailand Open BWF Super-500 Tournament in Bangkok on Thursday. Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap were knocked out in the second round while Sai Praneeth, the men's doubles team of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty and the mixed pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa moved into the quarterfinals.

Satwik and Chirag upset world No.7 Indonesian team of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto 21-17, 21-19. This is the first victory in three meetings for the Indian boys against the formidable pair.

They will now face Koreans Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae on Friday. Satwik later paired up with Ashwini to beat Alfian Prasetya and Marsheilla Gischa Islami 21-18, 21-19. The duo will square up against Japanese third seeds Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino at the last eight stage.

In singles, Sai Praneeth was the lone survivor as he got the better of compatriot Subhankar Dey 21-18, 21-19. Praneeth will face seventh seed Kanta Tsuneyama in the quarters. Earlier, Saina lost 21-16, 11-21, 14-21 to Sayaka Takahashi of Japan. The Japanese girl started the second game with a big lead of 11-1 to edge the Indian out. Fifth seed Srikanth lost 21-11, 16-21, 12-21 to Khosit Phetpradad of Thailand.

BWF World Championships, Basel

Prannoy beats Lin Dan in second round

Manne Ratnakar, Prannoy dumps Lin Dan in Worlds, August 21, 2019: The Times of India


HS Prannoy packed off five-time world champion Lin Dan 21-11, 13-21, 21-7 in the second round, thereby, causing a minor upset at the BWF World Championships in Basel on Tuesday. The exit of Super Dan was not surprising as the legend is not a force anymore.

Sai Praneeth joined Prannoy in the pre-quarterfinals with an impressive 21-16, 21-15 victory over Dong Keun Lee of Korea. Playing an aggressive game, Praneeth, targeted the backhand side of the Korean and did not allow Lee to play his trademark rally game.

Praneeth will now face the winner of the second round match between Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia and Toby Penty of England.

Incidentally, this is the third time Prannoy has defeated Lin Dan in five meetings. Prannoy started with a 6-2 lead in the first game. He moved to 10-3 and dominated the contest. Lin Dan recovered in the second game. He led 10-8 and 14-8 and wrapped up the game to push the contest into the decider.

Surprisingly, the veteran looked helpless as the hard hitting Prannoy won points with ease in the decider. From 6-5, Prannoy raced to 14-5. And with another five straight points he snuffed out Lin Dan’s challenge.

Prannoy will play reigning world champion Kento Momota, who thrashed Luis Enrique Penalver of Spain 21-10, 21-7. Momota enjoys a 4-0 win-loss record against Prannoy.

Prannoy said that he was cautious despite the lead. “The start and ending was good. In the second game the strategy didn’t work. Thanks to the coaches, I was patient. I was ready for a long match as the shuttles are not fast. He is always a tough player. I was really cautious that this should not slip away,” Prannoy told the BWF website.

Prannoy said he has a point to prove against Momota. “The draw was tough. I am looking forward to play Momota as there are some things which I need to prove and I think this is the event. I know I am a big tournament player. The day after might be a good day,” Prannoy added.

Later, Sameer Verma lost to Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 21-15,15-21,10-21.

Praneeth, Sindhu enter quarters

Manne Ratnakar, August 23, 2019: The Times of India


Worlds: Prannoy And Srikanth Crash Out

PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth stormed into the quarterfinals of the BWF World Championships on Thursday. Praneeth defeated Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia 21-19, 21-13.

Sindhu, meanwhile, trounced Beiwen Zhang of USA 21-14, 21-6 to set up a mouthwatering clash with Tai Tzu Ying. The second seed from Chinese Taipei, who enjoys a 10-4 record against Sindhu, downed unseeded Kim Ga Eun of Korea 24-22, 24-22.

HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth, however, bowed out. Prannoy failed to stop world No.1 Kento Momota and lost 21-19, 21-12 while Srikanth suffered a 21-14, 21-13 loss to Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand.

Earlier, playing a fast-paced game, world No.19 Praneeth shocked the world No.8 in 42 minutes. Ginting raised his game after the break to move ahead to 18-15, but Praneeth’s resolve earned him crucial points. Down 17-19, Praneeth’s powerful drives and down the line smashes confused Ginting, who made three unforced errors to lose the game from 19-18.

Praneeth maintained the same tempo in the second game and secured a 5-1 lead. But Ginting fought back and moved ahead to 11-8 by the break. From there it was Praneeth all the way. Pushing Ginting to the back, Praneeth got height to execute his powerful crosscourt smashes. He secured 12 of the next 13 points using the same game plan to move to 20-12. The Indonesian looked hapless as Praneeth won with ease.

In the quarterfinals, Praneeth will face the winner of the match between fourth seed Jonathan Christie of Indonesia and unseeded Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.

Praneeth said that he was determined to win as this was the most important match. “The draw was not too tough. This match was very important and I’m happy to have won it. In the first game, the rallies were going good. I was actually prepared for his pace. In the second game I was down initially, but once I got a lead like 14-11, I decided to play my game,” Praneeth told the BWF website.

Earlier, a lion-hearted display was not enough for Prannoy to stop Momota. The Indian matched the defending champion in all departments in the first game. But Momota's rock solid defence was difficult to crack.

After staying close to Momota upto 15-15, Prannoy found it tough to maintain the tempo. A 57-stroke rally drained out the Indian. The Kerala shuttler was the contest till 19-19 before Momota moved to game point with a fast-paced drive and won the game with a smash at the net. After the tough first game which lasted 21 minutes, Prannoy caved in in the second.

Second seed Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei defeated Kean Yew Loh of Singapore 21-13,18-21, 21-17 also in the prequarterfinals.

Sai, Sindhu enter semi-finals

Manne Ratnakar, Plenty to cheer as Sai, Sindhu make semis, August 24, 2019: The Times of India


Praneeth Is 2nd Indian Men’s Singles Player To Win Medal

Sai Praneeth Bhamidipati made history on Friday, becmoning the second men’s singles shuttler from India to win a World Championships medal. The world No.19 drubbed world No.4 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 24-22, 21-14 a little after PV Sindhu assured herself of a fifth medal at the Worlds with a gallant display to down Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 23-21, 21-9.

Prakash Padukone was the first Indian male to win a Worlds medal, a bronze in 1983.

Praneeth was recently nominated for the Arjuna award and the 27-year-old justified the faith by entering the semifinals as Christie hit the shuttle wide. Pressed hard by Christie in the first game, Praneeth did well to clinch the first game with jump smash. In the second he secured a 7-1 lead and gave no room for his opponent to come back.

Praneeth said winning the first set was crucial. “It feels awesome and great to reach semifinals. There are still more matches. We’ll talk about what medal I win later. Winning the first set was very crucial. I was hitting and hitting and got tired. Gopi sir told me to let him attack. My rhythm changed and I won it. The coach's advice helped," Praneeth told the BWF website.

Praneeth will face world No.1 Kento Momota. The reigning world champion enjoys a 3-2 record against the Indian and had also won the last three meetings. "Playing Momota is not easy. People are still searching for ways to beat him. You need to just play along with him to get points," Praneeth added.

Earlier, Sindhu lived up to her reputation as a big tournament player by getting past the former world No.1 in one hour and 11 minutes. Sindhu had won bronze in 2013, 2014 and silver in 2017 and 2018. In the semifinals Sindhu will face the winner of the quarterfinal between fourth seed Chen Yu Fei of China and Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark, who ousted Saina Nehwal on Thursday night.

A delighted Sindhu said that these sort of victories will give her a lot of confidence. “It was a really good match. Taking out these sort of matches will give good confidence. Now it is semifinals tomorrow. I have to prepare well. I think Chen Yu Fei is playing really well,” Sindhu told BWF website. Sindhu was slow off the blocks as Tai, who enjoys a 10-4 win-loss record, raced ahead to 11-4 by the break and won the game easily.

However, the 24-year-old Indian displayed her intent by winning the first point after a 38-shot rally in the second game. Though Tai moved ahead to 8-5, Sindhu hit two brilliant smashes and was helped by a couple of unforced errors by Tai to secure five straight points. Thereafter, it was a seesaw battle between the two until Sindhu moved to 20-18. Tai saved two game points before Sindhu came up with a brilliant drop and a strong crosscourt push to win 23-21. Tai opened a 7-3 lead in the decider and maintained it till 14-12.

Two power-packed smashes including one that hit Tai's body helped Sindhu to level the scores. Two unforced errors from Tai at 17-17 helped Sindhu move ahead. Tai caught up with the Indian at 19-19, but a brilliant smash took Sindhu to match point. A tense Tai hit the bird wide much to the delight of the Indian who fell on the court to celebrate her sensational victory.

Sindhu enters Final; Sai wins Bronze

Manne Ratnakar, SINDHU’S GOLDEN QUEST STAYS ON COURSE, August 25, 2019: The Times of India


Makes Worlds Final For The Third Straight Time; Sai Settles For Bronze

PV Sindhu, the big tournament player, is on the prowl again. The 24-year-old Indian made short work of China’s Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in just 40 minutes to storm into the final of the World Championships for the third consecutive time.

Before her semifinal win in Basel on Saturday, Sindhu had reached the summit clash in 2017 and 2018 only to falter at the last hurdle. Her loss to Nozomi Okuhara in 2017 was heart-breaking as just a couple of points separated her from the top honour. Sindhu had also won bronze as an 18-yearold in 2013 and repeated the feat in 2014.

A determined Sindhu will be a formidable foe for Okuhara in this year’s final. The latter defeated Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 in the second semifinal. Sindhu enjoys an 8-7 win-loss record against the Japanese shuttler. Sindhu defeated Okuhara at the Indonesia Open last month.

Sai Praneeth, however, settled for a bronze as he lost the semifinal to Kento Momota 21-13, 21-8. The Japanese world No.1 was too good for the Indian. Momota will face either Anders Antonsen of Denmark or Kantaphon Wangcharoen in the final. Praneeth said there are so many positives from this tournament. “This was one of the best tournaments I had played. There are so many positives for me. My recent performances were good,” said Praneeth. “I was pushing the pace but I was not getting points and I was getting mentally tired. I did not know what to do,” Praneeth added.

The women’s final on Sunday promises to be an exciting contest given the manner in which Sindhu dominated Yu Fei. In the first game, Sindhu called the shots and wrapped it up in 15 minutes. Packing her smashes with enormous power, many over 350 kph, Sindhu went into the break up 11-3. Sindhu was more aggressive on resumption, winning points at will. The huge margin of win made a difference as a confident Sindhu sniffed a chance and went for the jugular in the second.

Yu Fei tried hard, but Sindhu was in no mood to loosen her grip on the contest. From 6-5, the Indian raced ahead to 9-5 and then 14-6 in quick time. Yu Fei changed strategy and tried to drag the Indian near the net. Sindhu was up to that challenge and displayed her retrieving skills. It was evident that Sindhu has benefited from working hard on her defence under the new Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun. In the end, it was Sindhu’s attacking prowess that made the difference.

So dominant was Sindhu that Yu Fei could not win two straight points up to the 10th point in the second game. Still, Sindhu was not satisfied. “There is one more match to go. Definitely I’d want a gold. But it is not easy. I have been playing with both of them (Ratchanok and Okuhara). I think anybody is fine. I need to focus, go back tomorrow and give my best,” Sindhu told the BWF website. “I was well prepared. From the start I maintained the lead and finished it off. In the second set I made some unforced errors but I was leading by then. I hope it goes the same way tomorrow.”

Sindhu first Indian to win world badminton gold

Manne Ratnakar, August 26, 2019: The Times of India


Even as it was sinking in, PV Sindu was waking up to a dream. "Finally, I have become a National champion!” she exclaimed. Then suddenly, she and with her, the rest of India was wide wake. “Sorry, sorry, World Champion!” she laughed, as she repeated the words, slowly and deliberately, lest it slip away. “World Champion...”

You, India, should repeat it too. Slowly and deliberately. It won’t slip away. It’s here to stay. Try it. “World champion…” Then do it again, this time with feeling. “Sindhu! World champion!”

In Basel, home of Roger Federer, the master of all the unhurriedness possible in sport, Sindhu was in a tearing hurry on Sunday. Discarding all the nonchalance of Federer’s game, the ethos of a whole town even, Sindhu went for the jugular from the start -- her devastating smashes leaving Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara all but broken in a blitzkrieg that lasted no longer than 38 minutes!

Many of us back home hadn’t even settled into our couches, and even before the “Where were you that moment?” online threads could take shape, a Hyderabad girl – with all her majestic impatience -- was giving India our first world champion in badminton. Thirty-eight minutes and just 36 points later, she had rampaged to a 21-7, 21-7 victory – a form of complete dominance and control seldom seen in Indian sport in a long, long time.

Or perhaps the manner of dismantling the opponent was unprecedented by Indian standards, but it was a new Sindhu the world was witnessing. "I kept waiting for this. I lost last year (to Carolina Marin) and the year before last. Finally, I made it," Sindhu said, flicking away the beads of sweat that had not even begun to form.

Aggressive, precise and attacking the lines, she was the enforcer, an aspect that was hitherto missing from her game. Factor this: Sunday was her Sindhu’s third consecutive world final. In 2017, when she let the moment slip against the same opponent, they had engaged in what was a famous 73-shot rally. This time, eschewing all the tentativeness of her past finals, perhaps the longest exchange she entertained was a 22-shot affair, for the opening point of the opening game. That was it.

Thereafter there was no stopping, no chance for the Japanese for a look-in even. Instant badminton, no time for niceties.


Win over Tai was a confidence boost

So what had changed for the lanky Indian? Perhaps, it was her much-improved fitness. Perhaps, it was her strength-giving come-from-behind victory against Tai Tzu Ying in the quarters that worked wonders to her confidence and enabled Sindhu to switch from a more sedate rallying pattern to a go-for-the-kill approach that worked so well.

Never once did Sindhu trail in the blink-and-miss contest as the pain of losing the last two finals almost burst forth in the energy Sindhu expressed in her jump smashes and hard pushes leaving a higher-ranked Okuhara puzzled, looking lost and literally floored on several occasions.

The opening game rally was the only moment which gave some hope to Okuhara. Thereafter, Sindhu stamped her class and authority all the way. An eight-point burst saw her move into an 8-1 lead. A stunned Okhura could only earn her second point then, the 8-point surge changed the complexion of the game and set the tone for the final.

Sindhu stuck to a strategy of pushing the shuttle to the back of the court and smashing hard whenever she got an opportunity. Okuhara tried to drag her to the net but Sindhu was up to it as she retrieved quite well at the net. At 16-4 Sindhu produced a delightful crosscourt drop which kissed and moved down the net.

Okuhara tried to get as many points as possible to reduce the gap. But that did not work as Sindhu was bent upon closing the contest as fast as possible and knock her opponent out of the contest. The first game ended with a power-packed smash that almost hit Okuhara.

The second game played along the same lines. Though Okuhara tried hard to stay in the contest, Sindhu had raised her game to another level as she took her opponent by the scruff of the neck.

A scream of ecstasy and the customary handshake with the shell-shocked Okuhara followed to tell us it was all over.


MOMOTA SHOWS HIS CLASS

Japan’s Kento Momota retained the men’s title by outclassing 22-year-old Dane Anders Antonsen, who had stunned Olympic champion Chen Long in the quarterfinals, 21-9 21-3.

Bulgarian Junior International Championships: Pazardzhik

Juniors win 3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze

...Juniors excel in Bulgarian event, August 12, 2019: The Times of India


Indian juniors ruled the roost clinching three gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the Bulgarian Junior International Championships in Pazardzhik. Hyderabad girl Samiya Imad Farooqui won the girls singles gold with a 9-21, 21-12, 22-20 victory against Anastasiia Shapovalova of Russia in the final.

Girls doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt and the mixed doubles combine of Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra also finished on top of the podium.

The ever-improving girls doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt were highly impressive in the final as they stunned Turkish top seeds Bengisu Ercetin and Zehra Erdem 21-15, 18-21, 21-18. Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra brought more delight for the Indian contingent with their effortless 21-14, 21-17 win over the British second seeds Brandon Zhi Hao Yap and Abbygael Harris.

The only final result that did not go India’s way was the boys doubles one where the top-seeded British pair of William Jones and Brandon Zhi Hao inflicted a 21-19, 21-18 defeat on fourth seeds Ishan Bhatnagar and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala.

Other than these results, a couple of Indians bowed out in the semifinals and had to settle for the bronze. TNN

China Open

Indian doubles teams progress

Manne Ratnakar, China Open: Indian doubles teams progress, September 18, 2019: The Times of India


Hyderabad:

Indian doubles teams — Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy/Chirag Shetty and Satwik/Ashwini Ponnappa — progressed into the second round of the China Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Changzhou.

After recovering from the shoulder injury that forced him to skip the World Championships, Satwik combined with Ashwini to shock the sixth-seeded Indonesian pair of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 22-20, 17-21, 21-17 in the mixed doubles first round.

Trailing 15-19 in the first game, the unseeded Indian pair made a splendid comeback and even saved two game points before winning the first. Though they lost the second they were quite impressive in the decider. They will now face Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo in the pre-quarterfinals on Thursday.

Satwik later paired with Chirag to oust Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyi Yakura 21-7, 21-18 in the men’s doubles first round. They will square up against Japanese fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda in the second round.

Sindhu crashes out; Praneeth wins

Manne Ratnakar, September 20, 2019: The Times of India


PV Sindhu, three weeks after becoming the World champion, suffered a reversal in the second round of the China Open BWF Super-1000 Tournament in Changzhou.

The world No.5 was shocked by world No.15 Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 21-12, 13-21, 19-21 in 58 minutes. However, Sai Praneeth kept the

Indian hopes alive with a victory against Lu Gaung Zu of China 21-19, 21-19. But Parupalli Kashyap lost to Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in three games 21-23, 21-15, 12-21.

Sindhu looked in full flow in the first game as she raced ahead from 11-10 to 19-10 leaving no scope for her opponent to make a comeback. But after change of courts Sindhu appeared to have been affected by the drift on the court.

Pornpawee capitalised on the situation. She got off to a 5-1 start and from 9-7 she came up with a six-point burst to surprise Sindhu. Even as the lanky Indian struggled to control the shuttle, Pornpawee wrapped up the game at 21-13. In the decider, Sindhu was cruising ahead at 19-15 before Pornpawee scored six consecutive points to pull off a thrilling victory. Incidentally, this is the first victory for the Thai girl in four matches against the Indian.

Sai Praneeth too got affected by the drift but did well towards the end in both the games to prevail over Guang Zu.

“Both of us did a number of mistakes but towards the end I anticipated well and that helped me a lot,” said Sai, who will face Ginting Anthony in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost in both categories. In the men's doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty faltered against Japanese fourth seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 19-21, 8-21. Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa went down fighting against Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo of Japan 11-21, 21-16, 12-21 in the mixed category.

Sai loses

Manne Ratnakar, Indian challenge ends as Sai loses, September 21, 2019: The Times of India


India’s campaign ended with the exit of Sai Praneeth in the quarterfinals of the China Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Changzhou. The unseeded Indian lost to seventh seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia 21-16, 6-21, 16-21 in a keenly-contested men’s singles tie that lasted for 55 minutes. Ginting avenged his World championships loss with this victory.

Sai won the first game but fared poorly in the next. In the decider, Sai went into the break with a comfortable lead of 11-7. But after the mandatory change of courts the Indian shuttler struggled to keep pace with his rival. From 7-12, Ginting secured six consecutive points to move ahead of Sai. And again from 13-13, Ginting secured a three-point lead before clinching the match at 21-16.

Denmark Open

Sindhu, Praneeth Satwiksairaj-Chirag enter second round

Contrasting wins for Sindhu, Sai Praneeth

PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the second round of the Denmark Open while Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma exited Odense. Kashyap, who reached the semifinals of the Korea Open, faltered against Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 13-21, 12-21. Sourabh bowed out to Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands 21-19, 11-21, 17-21. World champion Sindhu worked hard against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia for her 22-20, 21-18 win in 38 minutes. In men’s singles, Praneeth made short work of multiple world and Olympic champion Lin Dan of China 21-14, 21-17.

Sameer, Pranaav, Sikki advance

Manne Ratnakar, Early exit for Saina; Sameer advances, October 17, 2019: The Times of India


Sameer Verma and mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy progressed to the prequarterfinals while Saina Nehwal endured yet another early exit at the Denmark Open BWF Super-750 Tournament in Odense.

Saina suffered a straight game loss against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 15-21, 21-23. The former world No.1 looked good in the second game but failed to win big points towards the end. Sameer faced no such issues as he eased past Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-11, 21-11. Sameer started with a 4-0 lead in the first game and maintained at least a three-point lead throughout the first game. In the second game, Sameer broke free from 4-4 to 9-4 with a five-point burst and never looked back. In the second round on Thursday, Sameer will face Olympic champion Chen Long, who defeated Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in three games 21-18, 15-21, 21-16.

Sindhu, Sai lose

Manne Ratnakar, Yet another early exit for Sindhu; Sai falls to Momota, October 18, 2019: The Times of India


Seventeen-year-old An Se Young recorded the biggest victory of her career when she stunned world champion PV Sindhu 21-14, 21-17 in the second round of the Denmark Open BWF Super-750 tournament in Odense. Meanwhile, in men's singles action, Sameer Verma went down to Chen Long of China 12-21, 10-21 and Sai Praneeth lost to Kento Momota of Japan in straight games 6-21, 14-21.

This is the third straight early exit for Sindhu after her world title in August. She lost in the second round of China Open and the first round of the Korea Open last month. She looked clueless as the Korean attacked her backhand relentlessly with fast paced drives and down the line smashes. Young, who won the Canada Open this year, had lost the Hyderabad Open final in August and Sindhu is her first big victim.

In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost 21-16, 21-15 to Chinese sixth seeds Han Cheng Kai and Zhou Hao Dong. In mixed doubles, Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy went down fighting against Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia 24-26, 21-13, 11-21.

Dutch Open Super 100

Lakshya Sen enters final

Almere:

Rising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen stor med into the men’s singles final with a straight-game win over Felix Burestedt of Sweden at the Dutch Open Super 100 tournament. The 18-year-old Indian, who had clinched the Belgian Open last month, beat Felix 21-12, 21-9 in a lop-sided semifinal contest that lasted 33 minutes.

Lakshya had earlier sailed into the men’s singles semifinals with a 21-9, 21-16 win over compatriot BM Rahul Bharadwaj.

Lakshya, who had won the Asian Junior champion, a silver at Youth Olympic Games and a bronze medal at World Junior Championships last year, will now take on Yusuke Onodera of Japan in the summit clash on Sunday. In the semifinal, it was neck-and-neck between Lakshya and Felix till the first six points before the Indian pocketed five straight points to surge ahead 11-6. PTI

Hyderabad Open BWF Super-100

Sourabh, Ashwini-Sikki in SFs

Sourabh, Ashwini-Sikki keep Indian hopes alive, August 10, 2019: The Times of India


Sourabh Verma and the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy eased into the semifinals of the Hyderbad Open BWF Super-100 tournament at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.

Aswhini-Sikki made short work of their compatriots Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha Ram 21-16, 21-15. The Indians will face Ka Yan Fan and Yi Ting Wu of Hong Kong in the semifinals.

In men’s singles, Sourabh put out Ajay Jayaram 21-18, 21-9. Despite trailing 12-14 in the first game, Saurabh prevailed. He will face Iskandar Zulkarnain of Malaysia in the semifinals.

Subhakar Dey lost to Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 11-21, 16-21. Meanwhile, the Indian challenge in men’s doubles ended with the exit of Manu Attri-Sumeeth Reddy and Shlok Ramchandran and MR Arjun. TNN

Ashwini-Sikki, Sourabh Verma enter finals

Ashwini-Sikki, Sourabh Verma close in on titles, August 11, 2019: The Times of India


Sourabh Verma and the women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy closed in on titles at the $75000 Hyderabad Open BWF Super-100 tournament. In the semifinals at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Sourabh defeated Iskandar Zulkarnian of Malaysia 23-21, 21-16, while Ashwini and Sikki brushed aside Fan Ka Yan and Wu Yi Ting of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-12 .

In the keenly-contested first game, Sourabh led 20-18 only to see Zulkarnain draw level at 20-20. However, Sourabh maintained his cool and from 21-21 he secured the first game. Sourabh secured a six-point lead in the second and was hardly troubled by Zulkarnain. The world No. 44 Indian will square up against Kean Yew Loh in the summit clash.

Ashwini and Sikki will face Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun. TNN

Sourabh wins gold; Ashwini-Sikki silver

Sourabh overcomes Loh on way to title, August 12, 2019: The Times of India


Sourabh Verma stuttered in the second game before recovering to clinch the Hyderabad Open BWF Tour Super-100 Tournament at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium. However, top seeds Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy were stunned by unseeded Korean duo of Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun in straight games 17-21, 17-21 in the women’s doubles summit clash.

Seventh seed Verma downed Kean Yew Loh of Singapore 21-13, 14-21, 21-16 in the final to become the only Indian men’s singles shuttler to win the BWF Tour title in the year 2019. Saina Nehwal was the only women’s singles shuttler to claim the BWF Super-500 title when she triumphed in the Indonesia Masters earlier this year.

Such has been the poor show by Indians so far that none of them were able to win a significant title in the first seven months of the season.

Verma, however, looked in control despite losing his way during the second game. Playing an aggressive game with ease, Verma won the first game without breaking much sweat. Even in the second, Verma was leading 10-5 before Loh got his rhythm going.

The Indian was casual in his approach and that allowed Loh to secure a few points. The Singapore shuttler erased the lead and from 14-13 he scored five successive points to dump the Indian in the second game.

Realising that he is playing according to the game plan of his opponent, Sourabh started playing the waiting game in the decider.

He began on a positive note by winning the first two points and slowly started dictating the pace of the game. His rival caved in when Sourabh relied more on rallies. Three unforced errors gave Sourabh a 14-11 lead and thereafter, the Indian nudged ahead and clinched the contest in style with a surprise half smash. Asked to rate the victory, Sourabh said, “Every title is equally important and I enjoy every victory in the same manner.”

INDIA OPEN

Sindhu crashes out in semis, Srikanth Will Take On Axelsen For Title

Saumyajit Basu, March 31, 2019: The Times of India


A point away from losing the first game, a tame lift from the Chinese toppled over after resting on the chord for a wee bit as PV Sindhu looked on, wrong-footed. The score read 21-21. Bingjiao earned the very next point exactly in similar fashion to reach match point in the first game of the women’s India Open semifinal. Perhaps nerves got the better of Sindhu, as the crowd favourite dumped the shuttle into the net to fritter away the advantage.

One game up, Bingjiao played the way she knows best, retrieving with patience. Being on the shorter side, Bingjiao doesn’t have the luxury to play the more expansive, aggressive game. She has evolved a rather intelligent method to react and return. Blending with it feline fluidity in movement, the 22-year old Chinese kept retrieving Sindhu's fast strokes till the Indian made mistakes. And Sindhu made them at crucial junctures, thereby losing the India Open semifinal 21-23, 18-21. It was Sindhu’s fourth straight loss to the Chinese.

Kidambi Srikanth, the other Indian semifinalist, however, didn’t disappoint. Surviving two successive threesetters is not ideal preparation to face Viktor Axelsen but Srikanth really had no choice. His match running along similar lines, Srikanth lost the first game of the semifinal against unseeded Huang Yuxiang – as he did against Sai Praneeth – and then lifted his game, sharpened his rusty jump smashes and concentrated harder to keep the shuttle in play.

Parupalli Kashyap was just about successful in sowing seeds of doubt in Viktor Axelsen’s mind in the second game after losing the first. Playing against the drift, Axelsen was all willing to engage the Indian into long rallies and the longest went on for 44 shots.

Mixing his strokes well, Kashyap put up a brave fight against the world No. 6 but lost 11-21, 17-21. For Axelsen, India’s best bet Srikanth will be waiting for him.

 Viktor beats Srikanth in finals

Saumyajit Basu, April 1, 2019: The Times of India


Just as the half smash eluded Kidambi Srikanth’s racquet and hit the floor, Viktor Axelsen took off his shirt and ran towards the crowd.

Claiming the men’s singles title after a gap of one year, the world No. 6 from Denmark ended the month, happy and contented after the disappointment in the All-England final in March. “Now I feel quite sorted. The loss in the All-England final rankled a lot,” said Axelsen after sweeping to a 21-7, 22-20 victory over Kidambi Srikanth in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open final at the IG Stadium on Sunday.

In two starkly contrasting games, Axeslen showed turbo-charged aggression in the first and patience with the drift in the second when Srikanth tried to pull things back. Leading 19-17, it looked like Srikanth was on the road to salvage the situation. After the clueless display in the first game, the 2015 winner regained his composure to at least make the match a decent contest. He smashed correctly to reach game point at 20-18 but let the opportunity slip with error-prone shots.

“Srikanth beat me in Denmark Open last year. Now he allowed me to win in India. Maybe, next time we can switch it around,” Axeslen quipped to lift Srikanth’s mood.

Injury had robbed three months of Axelsen’s career. Pointing to the losing finalist, who is also trying to find his rhythm, he said, “I know how difficult it is to come back from injury and be at your best again. It has no fixed timeframe.”

Srikanth, though happy with the way the week has gone for him, could not agree more.

Earlier, Ratchanok Intanon received a loud cheer as her name was announced as the newest women’s India Open champion. In her usual style, with folded hands, the girl from Thailand acknowledged the applause and happily collected the medal and the bouquet, perhaps reliving similar occasions when she topped the podium here in 2013 and 2016.

Sunday seemed to pose a strange set of problems for Intanon’s young Chinese opponent He Bingjioa. The third seed never quite looked in control of her strokes, something that she displayed with unerring precision as recently as on Saturday evening to deny PV Sindhu.

Going neck and neck, Bingjioa lost her way in the final third of the first game when she hit long and into the net to give away the final two points. Failing to stop the slide in the second game, Bingjioa never managed to close the gap that Intanon opened up going into the break.

Winning her third India Open 21-15, 21-14, Ratchanok said, “People say I really play well here. Before I came to the hall, I checked my record against Bingjioa. It read 0-4. I thought, I need to break the trend. I played calmly. Today my mental approach was better than hers. Even though she started well, I never thought of losing.”


COACH GOPI ON INDIA’S PERFORMANCE

ON THE OVERALL DISPLAY: A few of them lost to each other. I would've liked them to play other opponents. The women’s doubles and men’s doubles did well and had a chance to go further. Prannoy had a good tournament. I would have liked Sindhu to wrap up the semifinal match yesterday. Overall it’s been a good campaign.

PLANNING FOR OLYMPICS: Players are planning with a lot more maturity than in the past. So I hope we get some good performances as early as possible to get those slots so that there’s no mad rush towards the end leading to a burnout or an injury just ahead of the Games.

Indonesia Open

Sindhu survives/ Srikanth, others make early exit

Manne Ratnakar, July 19, 2019: The Times of India


A bumbling PV Sindhu was the lone Indian to survive the cut in the Indonesia Open BWF Super-1000 Tournament in Jakarta. Sindhu stuttered before recovering to beat Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark 21-14, 17-21, 21-11 in the pre-quarterfinals but the others bit the dust.

The Indian challenge came to an end in men’s singles and doubles events with the second round exit of Kidambi Srikanth, Pranaav Chopra-Sikki Redy and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty. The former world No.1 lost to NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong in straight games 17-21, 19-21 while Pranaav and Sikki lost to Si Wei Zheng and Huang Ya Qiong of China 14-21, 11-21 and Satwik and Chirag faltered against top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia 15-21, 14-21.

Earlier, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu worked hard for 62 minutes to get past Mia. Several unforced errors in the second game affected Sindhu’s rhythm. But the Indian recovered in time to beat Mia. “I made some unforced errors in the second game. When she dived and fell down I made unnecessary mistakes like hitting the shuttle into the net. I conceded two, three very important points and gave her the lead. But in the third game I was quite comfortable. She is a very attacking player and I was very much wary of her,” Sindhu said.

After winning the first game comfortably, Sindhu slumped in the second. From 16-15, Mia moved ahead to 19-15 securing four straight points, two of them due to unforced errors from Sindhu. But Sindhu made a splendid comeback in the third game. From 2-2, Sindhu raced ahead to 10-2 and then to 15-4, thereby, leaving no chance for her opponent to make a comeback.

Sindhu will face former world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, who beat Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-7, 21-16, in the quarterfinals. In 14 previous meetings the honours are equally shared by the shuttlers.

“It is not going to be easy. I have to stick to my plan. I will give my 100%,” Sindhu said about facing Okuhara.

Sindhu advances to semi- finals

Manne Ratnakar, July 19, 2019: The Times of India


After stuttering in the first two rounds, PV Sindhu stormed into the semifinals, beating Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-14, 21-7 at the Indonesia Open BWF Super-1000 Tournament in Jakarta on Friday. The fifth-seeded Indian took just 44 minutes to oust the former world champion. “I’m very happy with my performance today, I played well," Sindhu told BWF website after her victory. Unlike the match on Friday, the other 14 ties between the two were always intense affairs, involving a number of long rallies.

Sindhu enters finals

M Ratnakar, Indonesia Open: PV Sindhu beats Chen Yu Fei to march into final, July 20, 2019: The Times of India


PV Sindhu trounced reigning All England champion Chen Yu Fei 21-19, 21-10 to waltz into her first final of the year at the Indonesia Open BWF Super-1000 Tournament in Jakarta.

Almost seven months after winning the BWF Tour finals, Sindhu is just one victory short of her first title this season. Incidentally, this will also be the first major final appearance by an Indian in 2019.

"I’m very happy to make my first finals this year. I will do my best to win the title," Sindhu told BWF website.

Asked about her approach against the Chinese girl, Sindhu said, "I never thought about her form and I was confident of my form. Even when I was trailing, I never took a back step... I fought back and equalised. I was ready for everything today."

In the title clash on Sunday, Sindhu will face Akane Yamaguchi, who downed World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying 21-9, 21-15. Sindhu enjoys a 10-4 win-loss record against Yamaguchi and has won the last four matches against her since All England in March 2018.

The Indian was wary of Yamaguchi. "Akane and me have played a lot. It's going to be a match with long rallies. I have to get back, rest well and come back. We know each other's game well, so there is not much of a strategy, it's just that we need to give our best on the court," Sindhu said.

Against Chen, Sindhu trailed by four points in the first game. From 14-18, Sindhu made it 19-18 but hit the bird wide and the scores were level at 19-19. After a long rally, Yu Fei found the net and misjudged one at the back court to handover the first game.

In the second game, a determined Yu Fei opened up a 4-0 lead. But Sindhu raced ahead by winning seven consecutive points from 2-5 to 8-5. From 10-8, Sindhu won eight straight points to move well clear of Yu Fei.

Fourth seed Tien Chen Chou made it to the men's singles final with a 21-19, 18-21, 21-16 victory against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand. He will face the Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the final.

Indian challenge ends in Russia

The Indian doubles teams lost their semifinal encounters at the Russian Open BWF Super-100 Tournament in Vladivostok on Saturday.

The women's doubles top seeds Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram lost to Japanese fourth seeds Miki Kashihara and Miyuki Kato 10-21, 8-21.

In mixed doubles, eighth seeds Dhruv Kapila and Meghana lost to seventh seeds Adnan Maulana and Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso of Indonesia 6-21, 15-21.

Final: Sindhu loses to Yamaguchi

Indonesia Open: PV Sindhu loses to Akane Yamaguchi in title clash, July 21, 2019: The Times of India


JAKARTA: PV Sindhu's hopes of breaking a seven-month title drought came crashing down as the Indian lost in straight games to Akane Yamaguchi in the final of Indonesia Open BWF Tour Super 1000 tournament.

Seven months after becoming the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in December, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu had an opportunity to finally lay her hands on another crown only to squander, losing 15-21, 16-21 to the Japanese in a lop-sided summit clash that lasted 51 minutes here.

Playing her first final of the season, Sindhu looked a bit anxious and failed to match the brilliance of the 22-year-old Yamaguchi, whom she had beaten in the last four meetings.

This was Sindhu's fifth loss to Yamaguchi in 15 meetings. The last time the Indian lost to the Japanese was at the semifinals of the All England Championship last year.

The defeat added to Sindhu's list of runners-up finishes, which include silvers at the World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Thailand Open and India Open last year.

It was Yamaguchi's third title of the season after claiming crowns at German Open and Asian Championship.

Prior to this in 2019, Sindhu reached the semifinals of Singapore Open and India Open.

Sindhu had a forgettable start in the opening game as she lagged 0-3 but soon the Indian controlled the proceedings, making Yamaguchi run across the court and finishing with her precise returns to take a 5-4 lead.

Yamaguchi took the lead at 7-7 when Sindhu went wide. But the Indian managed to grab a three-point advantage at the break after the Japanese went wide twice.

Yamaguchi then displayed good retrieval skills and grabbed three straight points when Sindhu miscued her strokes.

A delicate net short took Yamaguchi to 12-13 but she again missed the line. The Japanese levelled par at 14-14 when the Indian went long.

Yamaguchi attacked Sindhu's long backhand corner and soon eked out a 16-14 lead. An attacking game helped the Japanese to widen the gap as Sindhu once again sent a shuttle wide.

A lapse in backhand defence and then one shot going long from Sindhu gave Yamaguchi six game points. The Indian saved one before a smash to a return of serve helped the Japanese to seal the opening game.

In the second game, Yamaguchi made a good start again, moving to a 4-1 lead before stretching it to 8-5 with Sindhu struggling to control the shuttle. The Indian won a few points because of unforced errors by Yamaguchi.

The Japanese sent one at Sindhu's body during a flat exchange before entering the interval with a 11-8 advantage, when the Indian hit out.

Sindhu unleashed a cross court smash and pushed one at the backcourt to leave Yamaguchi off balance, but the Japanese rode on the Indian's unforced errors to move to a 15-10 lead.

At 15-11, the duo played a 51-shot rally that ended with Sindhu making a judgement error.

Two unforced errors by Yamaguchi took Sindhu to 13-16 before she moved to 15-18. After a treatment on her right knee, Yamaguchi was back on the court and produced a smash to make it 19-15.

The Japanese held four match points when Sindhu went long and she sealed it with another smash to claim the biggest title of her career.

Indonesia Masters

Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth sail into quarterfinals

January 25, 2019: The Times of India


The third day of the Indonesia Masters turned out to be almost perfect one for the Indians with Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth sailing into the quarterfinals at Jakarta.

The top Indian trio of Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth recorded straightgame victories over their respective rivals in the second round encounters to book last-eight berth.

Second seed Sindhu overcame a rusty start to down Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 23-21, 21-7 in 37 minutes. It was fifth successive win for the 23-year-old Indian over the Indonesian, ranked 14 in the world. The Rio Olympics silver medallist will now square off against her arch rival Carolina Marin of Spain. The fifth seed Spanish player has a 7-5 head-to-head record against the Indian. The reigning Olympic champion will go into the match with a pychological advantage having beaten the tall Hyderabadi in their last clash.

Like Sindhu, Saina also maitained clean slate against her second round opponent Fitriani Fitriani. Saina has never lost a game against the Indonesian in their previous four encounters and Thursday was no different. On way to registering fifth consecutive win against Fitriani, world No. 31, Saina was on song and never allowed her rival to dictate the terms en route 21-17, 21-15 win in 43 minutes.

The 28-year-old Saina will now lock horns with Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand in the quarters. Eighth seed Saina has never lost to Thai girl in their last three ties so far and is expected to maintain her perfect recond. The only worry for Saina is that she has not face Chochuwong, world No. 22, in the last one and half years.

The lone warrior in the men’s singles, Srikanth made the light work of Kenta Nishimoto of Japan with a clinical 21-14, 21-9 win in exactly half an hour.

Srikanth, world No. 8, improved his record to 4-1 after Thursday’s result. He also avenged his loss against the Japanese, ranked 10th in the world, in the Hong Kong Open a couple of months ago in their previous encounter. Srikanth will face local giant Jonatan Christie for a spot in the semifinal.

Saina enters final

Saina enters Indonesia Masters final, January 27, 2019: The Times of India


Indian ace Saina Nehwal grinded her way to first final of the season with a combative win over China’s He Bingjiao at the USD 350,000 Indonesia Masters badminton tournament. The 28-year-old Indian, who was a runner-up last year, notched up a 18-21 21-12 21-18 win over sixth seed Bingjiao, a world championship bronze medallist.

Eighth seed Saina will now face either Spain’s three-time World Champion and reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin or China’s Chen Yufei, seeded third, in the women’s singles summit clash of the World Tour Super 500 event.

In their first ever meeting in international circuit, Saina showed better court coverage and unleashed some telling smashes to trouble the 21-year-old left-hander. Saina lagged 0-2 initially but clawed back to 5-5 with a couple of smashes. Another powerful straight smash left the Chinese stranded as the Indian led 8-6. She then went into the break with a 11-7 advantage.

The Hyderabadi continued the good run after the breather to lead 16-11 but netted twice to allow Bingjiao narrow down the equation to 15-16. A brilliant cross court smash and a superb drop helped the Chinese keep the deficit to a point till 17-18.

Bingjiao then won a video referral on a line call to make it 18-18. She then unleashed a smash to grab a crucial 19-18 advantage, before holding two game points. The Chinese sealed it when Saina went wide.

In the second game, Saina pulled away doubling the lead at 6-3 after an initial duel and then entered the break with a huge 11-3 margin. A beautifullooking cross court net return helped the Indian swell the lead to 17-9. She then produced two roaring cross court smashes to inch closer to the game point, which she grabbed once the Chinese went wide.

In the final game, Saina continued to go strong, taking a 6-3 lead early on and then extended it to 9-5. The Chinese, however, drew parity at 10-10. After the breather, Saina caught up with the Chinese at 13-13 after prevailing in a rally. She earned the lead at 17-16 with yet another smash to let out a scream. The Indian grabbed two match points and sealed it with yet another precise return.

Title for Saina, hurt Marin pulls out

Suhas Nayse, January 28, 2019: The Times of India


Indonesia Masters Nehwal’s First Big Crown In Two Years

Saina Nehwal might be the oldest player in the world top-25 right now but she is far from not finished. Just a couple of months shy of turning 29, the ace Indian shuttler notched up her maiden Indonesia Masters crown at Jakarta.

Although she would not have liked the way she won the title as her opponent and nemesis Carolina Marin retired hurt in the summit clash, it will nonetheless boost her morale ahead of the All England Championship. The Spanish player got off to a flying start and was leading comfortably 10-4 when the match was only ten minutes old. However, the fifth seed while going for an overhead shot, perhaps stretched too much and injured her right foot after a hard landing. As she cried in pain, it was clear she could not continue playing. The three-time world champion had no choice but to pull out of the match.

In the Malaysia Masters semifinal a week before, Marin had beaten Saina in the semifinal. Marin led 6-5 in her head-tohead record against Saina before Sunday’s clash. It was Saina’s first major BWF title in two years. The eighth seed had won her last tile in Malaysia in 2017. Last year, Saina had lost to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in this event’s final. It was Saina’s maiden title in Indonesia in eight appearances.

Saina was happy with the much-needed title but felt sorry for her arch-rival Marin. “Not the way I wanted it in the finals of Indonesia Masters. Injuries are worst for players and it was very unfortunate to see Carolina, the best player in women’s badminton, to face it today in the match. I wish her a very speedy recovery,” said Saina, who had rallied to down sixth seed HeBingjiaoof China 18-21,21-12,21-18 in 58 minutes in the semifinal.

In the men’s singles final, Denmark’s Anders Antonsen edged past hot favourite and top seed Kento Momota of Japan 21-16, 14-21, 21-16 to emerge champion.

Japan Open BWF Super-750

Sindhu, Praneeth, Satwik-Chirag advance

Manne Ratnakar, It’s Yamaguchi vs Sindhu again, July 26, 2019: The Times of India


In less than a week, PV Sindhu earned a chance to avenge her Indonesia final defeat to Akane Yamaguchi. The World No.5 Indian recovered to beat Aya Ohori of Japan 11-21, 21-10, 21-13 in the pre-quarterfinals of the Japan Open BWF Super-750 tournament in Tokyo on Thursday and takes on the diminutive Japanese.

Sindhu enjoys a 10-5 winloss record against Yamaguchi. Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag

joined Sindhu in the quarterfinals while HS Prannoy and the mixed pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik lost their second round ties.

The doubles outfit of Satwik-Chirag outsmarted China’s Liu Cheng and Kai Xiang Huang 15-21, 21-11, 21-19. The young shuttlers, who produced some top class results in the last few months, surprised the Chinese pair. Leading 16-11 in the decider, Satwik and Chirag suddenly lost control in the decider but quickly regained composure to get the better of their rivals.

“We were up 16-11 we would have won a bit more easier. It is always difficult against the Chinese. After losing the first game we could figure out what to do next. In the second game, we got off to a 8-0 start and were quite comfortable,” Chirag told the BWF website.

The Indian boys, ranked 18th in the world, will face Japanese second seeds Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda next. The Japanese had defeated the Indians twice in the past. In men's singles Praneeth registered an impressive 21-13, 21-16 victory against giant-killer Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan. The 2017 Singapore Super Series champion will play Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the quarterfinals.

Prannoy lost to littleknown Rasmus Gemke of Japan 21-9, 21-15. “It was our first meeting. I did not have any strategy,” Prannoy said. “There were a lot of errors from my side and I lost confidence after a couple of strokes went wrong,” he added.

Sai in semis; Sindhu exits

Manne Ratnakar, July 27, 2019: The Times of India


Two years and three months after winning Singapore Super Series, Sai Praneeth reached the semifinal of a major event by ousting Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-12, 21-15 in the Japan Open BWF Super-750 tournament in Tokyo on Friday. Praneeth is the lone Indian in the fray following the exit of PV Sindhu and the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.

Sindhu once again succumbed to Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, this time 21-18, 21-15. “There were good rallies and I should have been more patient. I would have won the first set but there were too many unforced errors from my side,” Sindhu told the BWF website, adding that she was not too worried about her second loss to the same player in a week. “Everyone is of the same standard, it’s just that whoever plays well on that day wins,” she added. In doubles, Satwik and Chirag gave a good fight before losing 21-19, 21-18 to world No.3 Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.

Earlier, Praneeth gave no chance to Sugiarto. Praneeth had lost in the first round in Indonesia. “Because of the conditions, I was not comfortable in Indonesia. But once I defeated Nishimoto here (in the first round) I got confident. This year, right from PBL I’ve been feeling good about my game. We also had time to train this year. After Australia Open, we had five weeks,” Praneeth added. Praneeth will face world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday. The world No.23 Indian was clear about his game plan — to stop Momota from playing rallies. “I need to take quick points,” he said.


Indian juniors tumble out

The Indian challenge ended at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in Suzhou, China. The men’s doubles team of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala lost 21-14, 21-19 to Jia Hao Howin Wong and Chuan Shen Aaron Yong of Indonesia. The women’s duo of Aditi Bhatt and Tanisha Crasto lost 21-7, 21-16 to Li Yi Jing and Luo Xu Min of China.

Praneeth loses to Momota in semi-finals

Manne Ratnakar, Momota too good for Praneeth, July 28, 2019: The Times of India


With a herculean task of ousting Kento Momota, Sai Praneeth had come with a game plan. But the world No.1 Japanese shuttler was too good as he outsmarted the Indian 21-18, 21-12 in the semifinals of the Japan Open BWF Super-750 Tournament in Tokyo.

Praneeth’s plan was to be aggressive and cut short the rallies. He succeeded only to an extent. Praneeth executed some breathtaking smashes, packed cross court drives with a lot of power and earned some early points. But once Momota found his range, the going became tough for the Indian.

Despite failing to retrieve some crosscourt smashes, Momota was in control. Retrieving almost everything, he made Praneeth push hard for points. The ploy worked as Praneeth began making mistakes. The Indian was also not able to match Momota’s speed. The Japanese superstar was unstoppable from the 11th point in the first game.

In the final, Momota will face Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, who downed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Meanwhile, Akane Yamaguchi will face Nozomi Okuhara in the final of women’s singles. In the semifinals, Yamaguchi ousted Chen Yufei 21-15, 21-15 and Okuhara defeated Michelle Li 21-12, 21-18.

Jinan Open

Prajnesh in QF; 3 Indians in doubles SF

Prajnesh in quarters, September 6, 2019: The Times of India


Jinan (China):

Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran booked a singles quarterfinal berth at the Jinan Open with a hard-fought win over Chinese Taipei’s Tung-Lin Wu. The Indian left-hander had to toil hard before prevailing 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the third round.

Prajnesh had plenty of breakpoints but could convert only two of the eight and dropped his serve once in the one-hour-34-minute clash. He next faces Japanese eighth seed Go Soeda, who steam-rolled Chinese Di Wu 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile, in the doubles event, three Indians will feature in the top-half semifinal. Top seed Divij Sharan and Matthew Ebden beat Pedja Krsten and Akira Santillan 6-1, 6-4. They will now face fourth-seeded Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who beat Hiroki Moriya and Goncalo Oliveira 7-5, 6-2. PTI

Junior badminton: Meiraba, Aditi triumph

Maisnam Meiraba dished out yet another dominating show in the finals to claim the men’s singles title at the Krishna Khaitan All India Junior Ranking Badminton tournament in Panchkula on Sunday. Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt also had a memorable campaign as they returned with twin crowns. Meiraba was unstoppable in his 21-12, 21-11 demolition of second seed Sathish Kumar K. In girls’ singles, Aditi showed steely nerves and resilience in her 22-20, 13-21, 22-20 marathon win over top seed Unnati Bisht in the final. AGENCIES

Korea Open

Kashyap alone remains in fray

Manne Ratnakar, September 26, 2019: The Times of India


Injuries and mid-match retirements rocked the Korea Open BWF Super-500 tournament in Incheon on Wednesday. Six matches, including those of Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth did not last the full length as players pulled out. All of India’s top players, barring Parupalli Kashyap, tumbled out of the tournament. PV Sindhu suffered another early exit as she lost to Beiwen Zhang of USA 21-7, 22-24, 15-21. Sindhu failed to capitalise on a match point (20-19) in the second game.

The Indian won the first game without breaking any sweat but failed to maintain the momentum. Next up for Sindhu is the European circuit next month. Kashyap, who came through qualifiers, saved the blushes for India with a 21-16, 21-16 victory against Lu Chia Hung of Chinese Taipei. The 32-year-old will now face Daren Liew of Malaysia, who ousted China's Lin Dan 21-19, 21-14. It will be their first meeting in five years. sSaina pulled out due to gastroenteritis at 21-19, 28-21, 1-8.

Kashyap in SFs

Kashyap seals Korea Open semis spot, September 28, 2019: The Times of India


Incheon:

Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap progressed to the men’s singles semifinals of the Korea Open World Tour Super 500 with a straight game win over former world No. 2 Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen. In a clinical display, the 33-yearold from Hyderabad, who is the lone Indian left in fray, outsmarted Jorgensen 24-22, 21-8 in 37 minutes to make it to his second semifinal of the season. He had reached the last four at the India Open Super 500 tournament.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist will now face world No. 1 and twotime world champion Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday. A former world No. 6, Kashyap, who was promoted from the qualifying round, had last played Jorgensen five years ago at the Denmark Open. The Indian entered the match with a 2-4 record against Jorgensen, a 2015 World Championship bronze medallist.

In the first game, the duo engaged in short rallies initially and spilt the first 8 points. A couple of backhand error and Kashyap was lagging 5-8. PTI

Kashyap loses to Momota in semis

September 29, 2019: The Times of India


Incheon:

Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap’s impressive run at the Korea Open Super 500 tournament came to an end after he lost to world No 1 Kento Momota of Japan in the men’s singles semifinals. Kashyap, who was the lone Indian left in fray, went down 13-21 15-21 to the two-time reigning world champion Momota in 40 minutes.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, who was promoted from the qualifying round, had last played Momota four years ago at the Indonesia Open. Kashyap had a 0-2 record against the Japanese prior to Saturday’s encounter.

Malaysia Masters

Saina loses to Marin in semi-finals

Saina loses to Marin, January 19, 2019: The Times of India


India’s Campaign Ends In Malaysia

Saina Nehwal’s impressive run at the Malaysia Masters came to an end following her straight-game loss to reigning Olympic and world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the women’s singles semifinals. The 28-year-old Indian, who had won the title in 2017 and was a runners-up in the 2011 edition, went down16-2113-21to fourth seed Marin in a 40-minute match to bring an end to India’s campaign at the first World Tour Super 500 tournament of the season.

Malaysia Open

Srikanth in quarters; Sindhu falters again

April 5, 2019: The Times of India


Kidambi Srikanth made it to the men's quarterfinal but PV Sindhu went down in straight games in women’s singles competition at the $750,000 Malaysia Open. Eighth seeded Srikanth defeated Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab 21-11 21-15 in little over half an hour to set up a meeting with Olympic champion and fourth seed Chen Long of China.

The 26-year-old is now the lone Indian survivor in the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament. Fifth seed Sindhu blew a 13-10 advantage in the opening game to go down rather meekly 18-21 7-21 to world No 10 Sung Ji Hyun for her third straight defeat to the Korean. The Indian had to the Korean in the first round of All England Championship and 2018 Hong Kong open.

Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 21-15 17-21 13-21 to local combination of Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia India to bow out.

Srikanth opened up a 6-2 lead early on and then jumped to a 14-6 advantage. The Indian continued to dominate the proceedings to pocket the opening game. PTI

Srikanth loses singles quarterfinals

April 5, 2019: The Times of India


A fighting Kidambi Srikanth suffered a straight-game loss to Olympic champion Chen Long of China to bow out of the men’s singles quarterfinals at the Malaysia Open.

The eighth seeded Indian, who had reached the finals of India Open last week, blew a huge advantage in the opening game to eventually lose the quarterfinal match 18-21 19-21. This was Srikanth’s fourth quarterfinal of the season.

Nationals: Varma beats Sen; Saina beats Sindhu

Suhas Nayse, SAINA TAMES SINDHU AGAIN, RETAINS CROWN, February 17, 2019: The Times of India


Sourabh Varma Stops Lakshya Sen In Men’s Singles Final At Badminton Nationals

The big battle between India’s badminton queens was once again won by Saina Nehwal. Making light of the top seed and arch-rival PV Sindhu, Saina won 21-18, 21-15 to retain her crown. With this dominating victory, Saina also maintained her perfect record in the Senior Nationals with four titles in as many appearances.

Out of the five finals scheduled on the concluding day of the Senior National Badminton Championship here on Saturday, the Saina-Sindhu clash was the cynosure of all eyes here on Saturday. Sindhu was off the blocks in style, winning the first three points. But Saina did not take long to find her groove. The defending champion first leveled the scores and then took a slender lead (11-10) at the break.

Saina, who will turn 29 next month, maintained a steady lead and didn’t allow Sindhu to nose ahead thereafter. Playing aggressively, Saina used powerful smashes to good effect. Sindhu’s returns were mostly in mid-court areas which were finished in a flash by Saina, who converted her second game point to grab the opener at 21-18.

Like in the first game, Sindhu pocketed the first couple of points in the second, hinting at a fightback. Sindhu was ahead a few times (5-3 and 7-6) but after she lost steam. Saina increased the intensity by firing bullet smashes to every corner of the court. Her aggressive brand of play caught Sindhu completely unawares and she came under tremendous pressure. Saina continued her tempo and sealed the fate of Sindhu on the second match point (21-15) in 44 minutes. It was Saina’s back-to-back win in the Nationals after she won in Nagpur last year.

Results (Finals): Men’s singles: Sourabh Varma bt Lakshya Sen 21-18, 21-13; Women’s singles: 2-Saina Nehwal bt 1-PV Sindhu 21-18, 21-15; Men’s doubles: 2-Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Chirag Shetty bt 1-MR Arjun-Shlok Ramchandran 21-13, 22-20; Women’s doubles: Shikha Gautam-K Ashwini Bhat bt 1-Meghana Jakkampudi-Poorvisha S Ram 21-16, 22-20; Mixed doubles: Manu Attri-K Maneesha bt 1-Rohan Kapoor-Kuhoo Garg 18-21, 21-17, 21-16.


Railways demand team championship winners AAI’s disqualification

Guwahati: The Inter-State team championship runnersup, Railways, have alleged that Airport Authority of India (AAI) won the title by fielding ineligible players and hence should be disqualified. The AAI team edged out Railways 3-2 to clinch their maiden title.

Singapore Open

Sindhu, Saina, Sameer enter quarterfinals

April 12, 2019: The Times of India


P V Sindhu had it easy but Saina Nehwal was tested as the two Olympic medallists entered the women’s 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.

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.

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. 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. PTI

Sindhu in semis, Saina ousted

April 12, 2019: Sportstar


P V Sindhu survived a scare before making the semifinals but Saina Nehwal was thoroughly outplayed in her straight-game quarterfinal loss on a mixed day for India at the Singapore Open badminton tournament.

Rio Games silver-winner Sindhu defeated world No.18 and 2017 BWF World Junior Championship bronze-medallist Cai Yanyan of China 21-13 17-21 21-14 to set up a meeting with former world champion Nozomi Okuhara.

It is Sindhu’s second semifinal of the season, following a last-four finish at the India Open last month. The secondseeded Okuhara, hailing from Japan, didn’t break much sweat on her way to a 21-8 21-13 win over sixth seed Saina. Sindhu broke off at 5-5 in the opening game to earn the bragging rights but her Chinese rival came back strongly in the second game.

In the third game, Sindhu once again found her bearings and surged to a lead of 11-5 before closing out the match in the end. In contrast, Saina fell apart against the Japanese in a lop-sided clash. Okuhara was in total control of the match and didn’t allow Saina any leeway. PTI

Swiss Open: Praneeth in finals, loses to world no.2

March 18, 2019: The Times of India


Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth settled for a runner-up finish at the Swiss Open after losing the men's singles final to top seed and world number two Shi Yuqi.

Playing his first final in almost two years, world No. 22 Praneeth lost 21-19 18-2112-21 to the Chinese in the summit clash, which lasted 68 minutes. The last time Praneeth featured in a final was which when he clinched the Thailand Open title in June 2017. Praneeth did well to win the opening game despite Yuqi making a brilliant comeback from 12-18 to 19-19. PTI

Thailand Open

Satwik-Chirag reach semi-finals

Indian challenge in Thailand Open rests with Satwik-Chirag, August 3, 2019: The Times of India


Teen shuttler Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stormed into the semifinals of the Thailand Open BWF Super-500 tournament in Bangkok on Friday. Indian hopes rest with them as Sai Praneeth and the mixed doubles duo of Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa lost in the quarterfinals. Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama exacted revenge for last week’s failing by ousting Sai 21-18, 21-12.

In mixed doubles, the third-seeded Japanese pair of Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino defeated the Indian duo 21-13, 21-15. Satwik-Chirag registered a hard-fought 21-17, 17-21, 21-19 victory over Solgyu Choi and Seung Jae Seo of Korea in men’s doubles. It was a see-saw battle in the decider as lead changed hands several times. The Koreans led 19-18 before the Indians won three consecutive points to reach the semifinals. Last year the duo was knocked out in the first round.

Satwik told TOI that staying positive helped. “We are happy with our win. We were calm and focused till the last point. We were also positive and that helped us,” Satwik said.

The Indians will face South Korea’s Sung Hyun Ko and Baek Cheol Shin. Satwik was excited to face his favourite doubles team for the first time in his career. “We are very excited because I love their game. I used to watch their videos when I started playing doubles. We will play with the same strategy, stay calm and be positive,” Satwik said. From the top half of the draw, the Chinese pair of Jun Hui Li and Yu Chen Liu face Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe of Japan.

Satwik-Chirag first Indian men’s pair to enter final

Satwik-Chirag first Indian men’s pair to enter final of BWF Super 500 event, August 4, 2019: The Times of India


Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty became the first Indian men’s doubles team to reach the finals of a BWF Super 500 tournament. On Saturday, they upset their heroes Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol of Korea 22-20, 22-24, 21-9 to earn the right to play Chinese third seeds Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in the final.

In all likelihood, Satwik and Chirag will also become the first Indian men’s doubles pair to break into the top-10 of the world rankings.

They were excited by their upset win. “I’m happy with our performance. Staying calm and having a positive mindset is helping us,” Satwik said and added that they are confident of doing well in the final. “We won’t do anything different tomorrow, but we are very excited to be in our first final. We are confident of doing well. We’ll give our best and make India proud,” Satwik added.

His partner Chirag described the victory as special. “Both of us have become a lot more calm and that’s the major improvement. Even though we lost the second game after having two match points, we did not lose our cool and that’s why we won the decider quite easily. Winning against Shin-Ko, the players we’ve always looked up to is very special,” Chirag said.

The Indians displayed tremendous grit and determination as they waded through tense moments. Leading 20-18, the boys faced stiff challenge in the first game. The Koreans saved two game points and were all set to clinch the tie before the Indian boys came up with two winners.

In the second, the Koreans led 18-12 but Satwik-Chirag reduced the deficit to 16-19. And when Shin-Ko were on the verge of victory at 20-16, the Indians made it 21-20. At 22-23, Chirag misjudged a service and the contest went into the decider.

In the third game, Satwik-Chirag upped the ante and at the change of the court they were 11-2. And they didn’t take long to wrap it up in their favour.

“Well pretty happy with our performances .. playing like calm cool and positive mindset is helping us a lot. We are confident about ourselves that we can pull off the match tomorrow. We won’t be doing anything different in the finals on tomorrow (Sunday) We are very excited about our first finals tomorrow and will give our best and make India proud,” Satwik said later.

Chirag, Satwik first Indian men to win BWF doubles title

M Ratnakar, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty register epic win to lift Thailand Open, August 4, 2019: The Times of India


HYDERABAD: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty etched a new chapter in the history of Indian badminton as they became the first men's doubles pair from the sub-continent to win the BWF Super-500 Tournament.

Saina Nehwal paved the way for breaching the Chinese wall, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth made even bigger dents on the reputation of the dragon and now Satwik-Chirag extended it to another category by reaching Himalayan heights.

The youngsters achieved this feat with elan as they stunned reigning world champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China 21-19, 18-21, 21-18 in a hard fought final that stretched beyond one hour at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok on Sunday.

This fantastic feat will help them to break into the top-10 of the world rankings, thereby making them the first Indian men's team to reach there.

Shrugging off a shoulder injury Satwik displayed brilliant anticipation and earned several points with his precise placements on the rival's front court.

Satwik, the tall shuttler from Amalapuram in Andhra Pradesh had to switch positions with Chirag on the all-important final day. Usually Satwik, the aggressor, plays from the back while Chirag is usually brilliant on the front and at the net.

"I have some shoulder issues so we had decided that I would play more from the front and Chirag from the back. I was focusing more on the service and the net," Satwik said.

This sudden change did not deter the Indians as the 22-year-old Mumbai shuttler came up with an outstanding effort from the back of the court.

Chirag was ecstatic after the win. "It's the biggest title we have won so far in our career. Right now I am out of words after playing in a final and beating the current world champion. I am extremely happy," he said after the victory.

Satwik, who will turn 19 next Tuesday, said that sticking to a plan and not hurrying through points helped them. "We just stuck to our plan of keeping the shuttle low and not hurrying through the points. I think this really worked and helped us. We kept our calm all throughout the tournament. Even when we were down 1-4 in the third game, we didn't lose hope. We just were steady and did not rush things to give them a bigger lead," he said.

One great trait about the Indian boys is that they are never overawed by the reputation of their rivals and it was no different when they faced the world champs on Sunday. "When we played them at the Australian Open, we lost to them very closely. We understood they were under pressure today but we had none since we were very excited to play our first final," Satwik said.

Pullela Gopichand, chief coach of the Indian team and who brought these two together, said that this win will hold them in good stead in the future.

"It's a great victory for the boys as most of the top players played in the tournament. This win will give them confidence for future. Now they can challenge any top team in the world," he said.

With just two weeks to go for the World Championships, this victory is quite significant as the Indian boys will be among the top contenders.

Satwik-Chirag rise to world no.9

Satwik-Chirag duo in top-10, August 7, 2019: The Times of India


The sensational triumph at the Thailand Open in Bangkok on Sunday catapulted Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy and Chirag Shetty to No. 9 in the world rankings, which were released by Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The duo jumped seven places to become the first Indian men’s doubles pair to crack the top 10. Breaking into the top-5 will be the priority, the shuttlers said. Even if they had lost in the final they could have breached the top-10. They are now keen to defend their title at the Hyderabad Open. Their seniors Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri are static at No. 25.

In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth is 10th and Sameer 13th.

Vietnam Open

Sourabh seals final spot

Ho Chi Minh City:

India’s Sourabh Verma outwitted Japan’s Minoru Koga in straight games to progress to the men’s singles finals of the Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 here on Saturday. Second seed Sourabh, who had won the Hyderabad Open last month, overcame world No. 112 Minoru 22-20, 21-15 in a 51-minute semifinal clash.

Lakshya wins Belgian title

Lakshya Sen stunned second seed Victor Svendsen of Denmark in straight games to clinch the men’s singles title at the Belgian International Challenge in Leuven, Belgium. Lakshya was at his best as he notched up a comfortable 21-14, 21-15 win over Svendsen in the title clash that lasted for 34 minutes. AGENCIES

Sourabh wins title

Sourabh pips Sun to claim Vietnam Open crown, September 16, 2019: The Times of India


Ho Chi Minh City:

Sourabh Verma registered a thrilling three-game win over China’s Sun Fei Xiang to claim the men’s singles title at the USD 75,000 Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 badminton tournament. Second seed Sourabh, who has won the Hyderabad Open and Slovenian International earlier this year, recovered from a mid-game slump to beat Sun 21-12, 17-21, 21-14 in the summit clash which lasted an hour and 12 minutes.

“I am very happy with the way, I played this week. I played three Japanese and these players have similar kind of style. Most like to attack and the little differences in their style is something you have to figure out on the court. So it was nice to beat them,” Sourabh said.

He beat three Japanese shuttlers --Kodai Naraoka, Yu Igarashi and Minoru Koga -- on way to his title win. “The final was a tough match but I am happy I could play my game and come out victories. This title will give a boost to my confidence,” the Indian said. PTI

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