Sindhu, Lakshya advance; Srikanth loses thriller against top seed Momota

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PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen sailed into the second round but it was curtains for Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth on a mixed day for Indian shuttlers at the French Open Super 750 badminton tournament in Paris on Wednesday.

Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, beat Denmark’s Julie Dawall Jakobsen 21-15, 21-18 in women’s singles, while London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal, who had suffered a groin injury at the Uber Cup final, retired after trailing 11-21, 2-9 against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan. She seemed to indicate pain in the upper right leg region before calling time on the match.

Later, fifth seeds Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty came from a game down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-huei and Yang Po-hsuan 18-21, 21-17, 21-13 in the men’s doubles round of 32.

Men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila beat Ireland duo of Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds 21-13, 21-7 to reach the next round. Their reward is an all-Indian battle in the next round with Satwik and Chirag.

Sindhu, seeded third, had a few nervy moments when it looked like world No 39 might force a decider at 17-14 in the second game. But she recovered in time to conserve her energy with a straight-games win. She will clash with another Dane Line Christophersen next.

Lakshya had a good day in the office as he defeated Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen 21-10, 21-16 to set up a clash against Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew next in men’s singles.

Sourabh Verma also made a positive start, beating Brazil’s Ygor Coelho 22-20, 21-19 in 43 minutes. He will meet Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the second round.

His younger brother Sameer, who played his opening round on Tuesday, will face Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.

India’s matches on Thursday (Courtesy Tournament software)

However, it was curtains for Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy in men’s singles.

Srikanth, the Rio Olympic quarterfinalist, played his heart out to match top seed Kento Momota and also held a two-point lead towards the end of the decider but ended up losing the men’s singles second round tie 18-21, 22-20, 21-19 in 79 minutes.

Srikanth, who had lost to Momota last week also at the Denmark Open, produced a much better display and came agonisingly close to outwitting the two-time world champion, only to fall short in the end.

Kashyap went down fighting 17-21, 21-17, 11-21 to Brice Leverdez of France, while Prannoy lost 11-21, 14-21 to Chinese Taipei’s fourth seed Chou Tien Chen.

Mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, the world No 24 pair, beat Denmark’s Mathias Thyrri and Mai Surrow 21-19, 21-15 in 37 minutes. They will face second seeded Indonesian pair of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti next.

Top seeded Korean pair of Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan beat Ashwini and N Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-17 in a women’s doubles match.

Earlier, Srikanth put up a brave effort but it wasn’t enough to beat the former world no 1 Momota.

Srikanth raced to a 4-0 lead but Momota clawed back to level the scores. He again moved to a 8-5 advantage only to see the Japanese eke out a slender 11-10 lead at the break.

After the break, Momota kept his nose ahead despite Srikanth snapping at his heels and drawing parity at 18-18 at one stage.

The second game was even more engrossing as the lead exchanged hands many times before Momota managed to take a 11-9 advantage at the interval.

The Japanese held two game points but Srikanth staged a superb fightback and reeled off four straight points to roar back into the contest.

The decider started with similar intensity with Srikanth heading to a 9-6 advantage but Momota made it 11-10 at the break. The Indian moved to 19-17 but a couple of errors cost him dearly. It was a case of so close yet so far as Momota registered a 11th straight win against Srikanth.

Inputs from PTI

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