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INDIA’S LANDMARK SINGLES VICTORIES
The Times of India 2013/08/10
All England title 1980; Winner World Cup 1981; Commonwealth Games singles gold 1978; Bronze at World Championships 1983
Commonwealth Games singles gold 1982; Bronze at Delhi Asian Games
All England title 2001
Runner-up World Junior Championship 1996; French Open 1998; Silver at Commonwealth Games 1998
Bronze at London Olympics 2012; Gold at Commonwealth Games 2010; 17 major international titles
The Times of India, Aug 20 2016
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.
Bronze at Commonwealth Games 2010
Bronze at World Badminton Championships, China, 2013
The Times of India, Aug 20 2016
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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: Asia Championship
The Times of India, Feb 21 2016
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
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.
The best players
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
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
It wasn’t just all about Srikanth and Sindhu. Prannoy and Praneeth made heads turn too
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
BWF World Tour
Saina loses to Tzu Ying in QF
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
All England Badminton Championship
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
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.
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.
Sindhu crashes out in semis, Srikanth Will Take On Axelsen For Title
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
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.
Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth sail into quarterfinals
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
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
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.
Saina loses to Marin in semi-finals
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.
Srikanth in quarters; Sindhu falters again
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
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
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.
Sindhu, Saina, Sameer enter quarterfinals
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
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
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
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