Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth eked out thrilling victories in the men's singles second round to set up an all-Indian quarterfinal clash at the USD 750,000 Australian Super Series, here on Thursday.
Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu and defending champion Saina Nehwal also advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's singles competition. Srikanth, who had edged out Son Wan Ho in the semifinals of Indonesia Open last week, once again had an upper hand against the World No. 1 Korean, beating him 15-21 21-13 21-13 in a 57-minute clash.
After this win, Srikanth had taken his head-to-head record against the Korean to 4-4.
"In the third game I thought I have to get the extra shuttle, that worked for me," said Srikanth.
"He's someone who doesn't attack too much, just keeps the rally going. You have to be more steady than him or you have to crack him. In these conditions it's hard to go on all-out attack. My training is paying off. I'm really confident about my fitness."
In another match, Sai Praneeth staved off a challenge from China's Huang Yuxiang 21-15 18-21 21-13 in a match that lasted 64 minutes. The Indian had beaten the Chinese at the 2015 US Open in their only meeting. Interestingly, Srikanth and Praneeth had clashed in the final of Singapore Open in April with the latter emerging victorious.
Indian ace B. Sai Praneeth has reached the final of Thailand Open by getting the better of his Thai counterpart Pannawit Thongnuam 21-11 21-15 in straight-game in a match that only last 36 minutes. His national compatriot Saina Nehwal, on the other hand, bowed out of the tournament after losing out to Busanan Ongbumrungpan 19-21, 18-21 in the semi-finals.
The 24-year-old Hyderabad-born shuttler, Sai Praneeth - who clinched the Singapore Open crown last month - didn't sweat much to defeat Thongnuam and never gave the Thai a slightest of edge to get past through him. In the second game, however, Thongnuam tried hard to bring his game back on track, but the brilliance of Praneeth eventually proved out too much to handle. With that being said and done, Praneeth will now lock horns with Indonesia's 19-year-old sensation Jonathan Christie in the final on Sunday.
The fact that the 24-year-old Praneeth hasn't dropped a single game in the entire tournament gives him a slight edge against Christie. Praneeth has shown a strong resilience in the entire tournament thus far, and if he tends to lift his second consecutive title this Sunday, he will have to be on his toes as his 19-year-old counterpart Jonathan Christie certainly isn't the one to be overlooked at.
Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal cruised into the pre-quarterfinals of the Thailand Open after getting the better of her Slovakian counterpart Martina Repiska 21-5 21-10 in the opening round of the tournament. The former World number 1 will now lock horns with Malaysia's Ying Ying Lee in the next round.
It was a walk in the park of Saina as she completely outclassed Repiska in the first game. The Slovakian only managed five points in the opening game, while 10 in the next one, and lost out in straight sets in a game that only last near to 25 minutes. While the Hyderabad-born ace booked her place into the next round, her national compatriot in B. Sai Praneeth followed her in the tournament by brushing off his Malaysian counterpart R. Satheishtharan 21-15 21-13 in men's singles.