8:07 PM IST - Below-par day for Indian badminton players
Indian players at the 2021 Orleans Open endured a below-par day with all but one doubles pair bowing out of the competiton in the semi-final stage.
The bronze medallist from the 2012 Olympics, Saina Nehwal, was the biggest upset with one of Denmark's upcoming shuttler Line Christophersen accounting for the Indian ace in straight games.
Though the women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy showed some fight in their last-four match against the top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand, the Indian duo struggled to match up to the world No. 8 duo.
Later, Ashwini Ponnappa, along with partner Dhruv Kapila, fell short in the mixed doubles too following their loss to Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund of Denmark. The Danes won the match, 21-9, 21-23, 21-7.
The men's doubles pair of G Krishna Prasad and GP Vishnu Vardhan were the only bright spot for India as the duo made it to their maiden final on the BWF Tour.
Teaming up for the first on the international circuit, the Indian pair beat England's Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood 21-17, 21-17.
They will take on the fourth seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy of England for the title.
Join us tomorrow as we bring the live coverage of the final day of the 2021 Orleans Open. Good night!
4:53 PM IST - Saina Nehwal ousted
She looked like the second-best player on the court for most of the tie and, not surprisingly, Saina Nehwal bows out of the 2021 Orleans Masters with a straight-game loss to the 21-year-old Line Christophersen.
Though the Indian started the second game well and enjoyed a lead at the mid-game interval, the world No. 37 Dane came out firing post the break to race her way to a win in 28 minutes.
Score: Saina Nehwal lost to Line Christophersen 17-21, 17-21
4:46 PM IST - Purposeful stuff from Saina Nehwal
The Indian ace seems to have changed gears in the second game and deservedly takes an 11-7 lead at the mid-game interval.
Saina Nehwal stepped up the intensity and troubled the young Nice Christophersen with some smart shuttle work. Need more of this from Saina Nehwal.
Score: Saina Nehwal 17-21, 11-7 Line Christophersen
4:44 PM IST - Krishna Prasad-Vishnu Vardhan make final
There's some good news for the Indian fans from the adjacent court.
Playing their first international competiton as a pair, the men's doubles duo of Krishna Prasad and Vishnu Vardhan have entered the final of the Orleans Masters.
They struggled a bit in the opening game, but the Indians grew in confidence as the match progressed to notch much a fine win. What a run the Indians are having in Orleans!
Score: G Krishna Prasad/ GP Vishnu Vardhan beat Callum Hemming/ Steven Stallwood 21-17, 21-17
4:39 PM IST - A mountain to climb for Saina Nehwal
The Indian pays for her sloppy approach to the game.
There were barely any rallies to talk about as both the shuttlers struggled to keep the shuttle in play for long.
Score: Saina Nehwal 17-21 Line Christophersen
4:31 PM IST - Saina Nehwal in a close tie
Not the start the Indian ace was hoping for. She isn't moving well and the young Line Christophersen has done well to punish her opponent at every possible opportunity.
Score: Saina Nehwal 9-11 Line Christophersen
4:14 PM IST - Ashwini-Sikki lose
The Indian women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy bow out of the 2021 Orleans Masters following a straight-game loss to top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand.
Though the Indians started well and challenged the top seeds in the opening game, they were no match to the Tahi pair in the second as the world No. 8 ran away with the match in 37 minutes.
Saina Nehwal takes the court for her semis tie next!
Score: Ashwini Ponnappa/ N Sikki Reddy lost to Jongkolphan Kititharakul/ Rawinda Prajongjai 18-21, 9-21
4:08 PM IST - Kititharakul-Prajongjai in cruise mode
The Thai pair are running away with this one!
They have come out all guns blazing in this second game and enjoy an 11-5 lead at the mid-game interval.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy look pale in comparison. Can they turn this one around?
Score: Ashwini/ Sikki 18-21, 5-11 Kititharakul/ Prajongjai
3:57 PM IST - Advantage Kititharakul-Prajongjai
The top seeds assert their supremacy to take the opening game in what's been a close semi-final tie.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy did well to stay within touching distance of their opponents, but a few crucial mistakes by the Indian pair saw them give away the opening game.
Score: Ashwini/ Sikki 18-21 Kititharakul/ Prajongjai
3:45 PM IST - Ashwini-Sikki trail
The India duo finds themselves behind in this opening game.
The rallies have been short with Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai dictating the game at will. The Indians will need to come up with a plan to test the top seeds here.
Score: Ashwini/ Sikki 9-11 Kititharakul/ Prajongjai
3:00 PM IST - Saina Nehwal looking for her first final in over two years
The day begins with the world No. 25 pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy taking on the top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand.
Though the Indians looked in fine touch during their win over the third seeds Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith of England on Friday, Ashwini and Sikki will have to ensure that stay alert against the Thai pair who have been in top form, going deep at the two Thailand Opens and the Swiss Open, so far this year.
That will be followed by the big one for India, the women's singles involving Saina Nehwal and Denmark’s Line Christophersen.
The bronze medallist from the 2012 London Olympics, Saina Nehwal, has endured a rough patch with her last final appearance on the BWF World Tour dating back to the 2019 Indonesia Masters, a competition she won.
Against the 21-year-old Dane, though the Indian ace will start as the favourite, Saina Nehwal will have to ensure that she stays in the game by not falling into the opponent’s trap.
Stayed tuned for all the latest from the 2021 Orleans Masters, here!