PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth advance to quarter-finals at Swiss Open

PV Sindhu comfortably beat Iris Wang while Kidambi Srikanth won a second-consecutive three-game encounter at the Swiss Open.

By Rahul Venkat

PV Sindhu progressed to the women’s singles quarter-finals of the Swiss Open with a 21-13, 21-14 win over American Iris Wang in Basel on Thursday.

The reigning world champion served long to push Wang back initially. The American shuttler struggled to build any rhythm and was outdone by PV Sindhu’s smart gameplay.

Iris Wang also faltered on her returns, often misjudging its pace. PV Sindhu pounced early on her opponent’s slow returns and dipped her forehands when it was long to easily take the first game.

On a day when both sides of the court were playing relatively slowly, the world No. 7 Indian brought out her powerful smash only occasionally, preferring to engage Wang in rallies and finish off points with drops.

PV Sindhu was particularly adept at that strategy in the second game, as she used the depth of the court well and always managed to find a frontcourt winner despite Iris Wang’s best efforts to cover the court.

The American shuttler was unable to anticipate where and how fast PV Sindhu would place her shots. The Rio 2016 silver-medallist mixed up her snappy forehands and wristy backhands to keep Wang guessing and wrapped up the victory soon.

PV Sindhu will now take on Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the women’s singles quarter-finals.

Srikanth, Satwik-Ashwini win

Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth played out a three-game marathon for the second time in two days and emerged victorious against Frenchman Thomas Rouxel to go through to the men’s singles quarter-finals.

Kidambi Srikanth, Swiss Open champion in 2015, beat Rouxel 21-10, 14-21, 21-14 in 52 minutes.

The Indian badminton ace, who had beaten compatriot Sameer Verma on Wednesday, dominated the first game and was leading at the halfway point in the second.

However, Rouxel put up a tough fight to force a decider. Kidambi Srikanth though began well in the third game and carried that momentum to take victory.

Ajay Jayaram also entered the quarter-finals with a 21-18, 17-21, 21-13 win over world No. 12 Dane Rasmus Gemke. This was Ajay Jayaram’s second-consecutive victory over a higher-ranked opponent.

Fifth-seed B Sai Praneeth became the third Indian in the men’s singles quarter-finals after he beat Spain’s Pablo Abian 21-12, 21-17.

However, Sourabh Verma’s campaign came to an end with a 21-17, 21-14 loss to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa continued their fine form with a 21-18, 21-16 win over Indonesians Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari to enter the last eight.

Satwiksairaj then won his second match of the day, this time with Chirag Shetty in the men’s doubles. Satwik-Chirag beat Indonesia’s Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yacob Rambitan 21-17, 20-22, 21-17 to go through to the quarters.

However, Ashwini Ponnappa exited the women’s doubles along with N Sikki Reddy after they lost 21-11, 21-15 to Amalie Magelund and Freja Ravn of Denmark.

For play-by-play highlights of the Indian contingent, visit our live blog of Day 3 of the Swiss Open.