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Saina aims return to form with title at Chinese Taipei

Press Trust of India

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Saina will face Korea's An Se Young in the opening round

Taipei: Former champions Saina Nehwal and Sourabh Verma will look to find their best form when they begin their quest to regain the women’s and men’s singles crowns at the Chinese Taipei BWF World Tour Super 300 beginning with qualifiers here on Tuesday.

Top seed Saina returns to the tournament for the first time since winning the title way back in 2008, while reigning national champion Sourabh had achieved the glory here in 2016 and will look to repeat his feat.latest sports news in english

On a comeback trail since regaining fitness, former top 10 player H S Prannoy is another Indian shuttler to look out for during the week, especially after his victory over Chinese legend Lin Dan at the recent World Championship in Basel, Switzerland.

World No 8 Saina looked good at the World Championships before a few controversial umpiring decisions led to her defeat to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt last week.

Saina will face Korea’s An Se Young in the opening round and looks favourite to lift the trophy even though she is likely to face stiff competition from Canada’s second seed Michelle Li, USA’s third seed Beiwen Zhang and Korea’s fourth seed Sung Ji Hyun among others.

In men’s singles, Sourabh will look to continue his momentum following his triumph at the Hyderabad Open. The Madhya Pradesh shuttler will open his campaign against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.

Among others, currently ranked 27th, Prannoy, who lost a lot of time after being hit by a stomach problem late last year, will meet local favourite Wang Tzu Wei in the first round.

Third seed Sameer Verma, who had clinched three titles last year, will lock horns with Malaysia’s Daren Liew.

Women’s doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant too are in the fray. They will take on sixth seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean of Malaysia in the first round.

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Sai Praneeth beaten in China Open quarterfinals

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Sai Praneeth.

Changzhou, Sep 20 (PTI) B Sai Praneeth suffered a three-game loss to world no.9 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarterfinals to draw curtains on India’s campaign at the China Open World Tour Super 1000 badminton tournament here on Friday.

Almost a month after dispatching the Indonesian en route his historic world championships bronze at Basel, world no.15 Praneeth went down to the same opponent 21-16 6-21 16-21 in 55 minutes to end his campaign here.

Ginting will now take on eighth seeded Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, who had clinched the silver at the World Championships.

Praneeth, who had reached the finals of Swiss Open early this year, came into the match with a 3-2 advantage in the head-to-head count against Ginting but he ran out of steam after winning the opening game.

Praneeth opened up a 3-0 lead early on and then kept widening the gap, reaching 11-3 at the break.

Ginting tried to make a comeback and was 11-14 at one stage but the Indian ensured there were no hiccups as he pocketed the opening game comfortably.

In the second game, Ginting galloped to a 9-4 lead after grabbing six straight points and entered the interval with a cushion of 11-5.

The Indonesian continued to rule the roost after the break, jumping to a massive 18-6 lead and soon roared back into the contest.

The decider was a close affair as Praneeth erased a 2-6 deficit to catch up with Ginting and was ahead 11-7 at the breather. A fighting Ginting, however, turned the tables after reeling off six points on the trot to reach 13-12.

The Indonesian kept his hold on the proceedings after that to grab four match points and converted it easily to enter the semifinals.

Last month, Praneeth had reached the semifinals of the World Championships to end India’s 36-year wait for a men’s singles medal at the tournament.

He emulated legendary Prakash Padukone, who had also won a bronze at the 1983 edition.

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World champ PV Sindhu beaten in China Open pre-quarters

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PV Sindhu

Changzhou (China): Reigning world champion PV Sindhu made an early exit from the China Open after losing a three-game thriller against Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals here on Thursday.

Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, squandered a first-game advantage to go down 12-21 21-13 21-19 to Pornpawee in a match that lasted 58 minutes here.

Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also had a dismal day as he suffered twin defeats, losing both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.

In men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against fourth-seeded Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda and went down 19-21 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.

This is the second time Satwik and Chirag have lost to the combination of Kamura and Sonoda this year. They had lost to the world no.4 pair at the Japan Open in July.

Satwik then paired up with his mixed doubles partner Ashwini Ponanappa but the duo couldn’t get past Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo, losing 11-21 21-16 12-21 to the Japanese pair.

Sindhu, who came into the match with a 3-0 lead against Pornpawee, dominated the first game as she lead 7-1 early on but the Thai shuttler reduced the deficit to 10-11 at the break.

However, Sindhu reeled off eight straight points after the interval to jump to 19-10 and eventually sealed the first game comfortably.

In the second game, Pornpawee changed gears and moved to a 5-1 advantage initially. Sindhu clawed back to 7-9 before the Thai youngster jumped to 15-7 with six straight points and held her fort to roar back into the contest.

The decider started on an even note as the duo fought hard, moving together till 6-6 when Sindhu surged ahead to enjoy a 11-7 cushion at the break.

However, Pornpawee kept breathing down Sindhu’s neck and slowly moved to 15-19. From there, the Thai shuttler blasted six points to leave the Indian shocked.

Among other Indians in fray, Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth will also be in action, while Ponnappa and N Siki Reddy will take on the second seeded Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the second round of the women’s doubles competition.

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Satwiksairaj – Chirag Shetty pair knocked out of China Open

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (left) and Chirag Shetty

Changzhou: The Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered a straight-game loss to Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda to crash out of the China Open badminton tournament here on Thursday.

Satwik and Chirag, ranked 15th in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against their fourth-seeded opponents and went down 19-21 8-21 in the second-round match that lasted 33 minutes.

This is the second time Satvik and Chirag have lost to the combination of Kamura and Sonoda this year. They had lost to the world no.4 pair at the Japan Open in July.

Later on Thursday, the mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponanappa, who stunned Indonesia’s world no.7 combination of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the opening round, will take on Japan’s Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo.

In the singles events, fifth seed PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, and B Sai Praneeth will also be in action.

Ponnappa and Siki Reddy will take on the second-seeded Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the second round of the women’s doubles competition.

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