When Saina Nehwal decided to skip the 2017 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Tournament on injury concerns, many people thought that the event would lose its color. But Olympic silver-medalist PV Sindhu and many of her Indian colleagues played marvelously through the tournament stages and ensured that the Lucknow event would not be forgotten for a long time. Out of Sunday’s five finals, Indians finished by winning the men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles crowns, while the women’s doubles team finished runners-up to Denmark. Sindhu credited herself with a dominant run in women’s singles category, where she didn’t drop a single game through the event. In the final, Sindhu quashed the challenge of Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska to win the women’s singles title. In men’s singles and mixed doubles, two more titles were already on cards since these were all-Indians affairs. In the end, Sameer Verma defeated B Sai Praneeth while Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy got the better of their compatriots B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa. India had also made it to the final of women’s doubles but the pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to the top-seeded Danes Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen.
In the last few months, PV Sindhu seems to have usurped the fame hitherto enjoyed by Saina Nehwal. Therefore Saina’s withdrawal did not make much dent to people’s enthusiasm at Lucknow’s Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium, which hosted the 2017 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Tournament. After winning the Olympic silver at the Rio Games, Sindhu won the Thaihot China BWF super-series tournament and had runners-up finishes at Hong Kong Open and the year-end BWF World Super-series Finals at Dubai. In India’s off-season Premier Badminton League, Sindhu played a major role in steering her franchise Chennai Smashers to their first ever victory in the event. On Sunday, Sindhu culminated her superb run at Syed Modi tournament by easily brushing aside the challenge from Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska. The Indonesian herself had a marauding run, in which she defeated her sixth-seeded compatriot Hanna Ramadini in the semifinal and third-seeded Spaniard Beatriz Corrales in the quarters. But top-seeded Sindhu was too much for Mariska as the Indian wrapped up an incident-free 21-13, 21-14 victory in just 30 minutes.
India was already assured of the men’s singles title since it was an all-Indian affair with 8th seeded Sameer Verma playing against 9th seeded B Sai Praneeth. In the end, Sameer took the title with a 44-minute 21-19, 21-16 victory. The third title that India won on Sunday was another foregone conclusion. In an all-Indians mixed doubles finals, Pranaav Jerry Chopra/N Sikki Reddy defeated B Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa 22-20, 21-10.
India also had their chances in women’s doubles since the pair of Ashwini Ponnappa/Sikki Reddy had entered the final. But they lost 16-21, 18-21 to the top-seeded Danish team of Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen. The only category devoid of India’s presence was the men’s doubles final. That title was taken by Denmark’s top-seeded pair of Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen. The Danes turned out to be far superior to the 8th seeded Taiwanese team of Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han as they completed the 21-14, 21-15 victory in 41 minutes.
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