Saina Nehwal in Macau Open badminton quarters, Parupalli Kashyap exits
It was a mixed day for Indians at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament on Thursday as top seed Saina Nehwal went through to the quarterfinal stage while Parupalli Kashyap bowed out of the tournament in straight sets.
Saina Nehwal, who had to undergo a knee surgery earlier in August, survived a scare before going past Indonesian Dinar Dyah Ayustine 17-21, 21-18, 21-12 to reach the last eight.
It was a good start from Saina Nehwal, who led the first game at the halfway mark, but the world No 50 staged a terrific comeback as she took the lead at 19-15, having trailed 7-10 to Saina earlier. Two points went either way and Dinar won the first game comfortably.
In the second, Saina surged to a similar 10-3 lead only to find the determined Dinar level it back at 18-18. However, the comeback was short-lived as Saina went on to take the next three points and drew the match level at 1-1.
The manner in which Saina forced the comeback seemed to have taken the Indonesian by surprise as she went down 12-21, virtually without a fight, handing Saina Nehwal yet another hard-fought victory.
Saina, who is yet to reach the last four of a tournament having crashed out of China Open in the first round and in the quarterfinal stage of the Hong Kong Open, was pushed to her limits by Dinar but the former world No 1 held on and came back from a game down to wrap up the match that lasted 62 minutes.
She will next face China’s Zhang Yiman for a place in the last four. Saina is India’s best bet in the tournament after Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu withdrew from the tournament.
Parupalli Kashyap crushed
In men’s singles third round, it was a dominant display from Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu Hsien as the world No 54 inflicted a crushing defeat on Parupalli Kashyap to win the game 21-13, 22-20 and go through to the next stage.
Both the players were tied at six points each in the first game before Lin surged ahead and led 11-7 at the halfway mark. Parupalli Kashyap could only manage to bag six more points before losing the game 13-21.
However, in the second game, it was Kashyap who had a slender 11-10 lead at the halfway mark but Lin made a strong comeback and kept on piling the pressure. Kashyap did manage to level the game at 20-20 after trailing 17-19, but failed to hold on to the momentum, eventually losing the next two points.
With Kashyap’s exit, B Sai Praneeth is the only Indian remaining in the draw after HS Prannoy had retired midway during his opening round match after suffering a back injury.