With Kidambi Srikanth suffering another first-round defeat and Saina Nehwal skipping the China Grand Prix Gold tournament, India’s chances depend solely on quarterfinal performances of PV Sindhu in women’s singles, HS Prannoy in men’s singles and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa in women’s doubles. Besides Sriknath, India’s other opening round casualties were Parupalli Kashyap, Sameer Verma and Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy while Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akhshay Dewalkar fell in the second round. Though the field in the GPG tournament is devoid of many top stars, China’s two badminton greats Chen Long and Lin Dan are in the fray and they have been drawn to meet in the final. Prannoy meets Chen Long in his next outing on April 22 while Sindhu will square up with Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk for a place in the semifinals. In women’s doubles quarterfinal Jwala/Ashwini will meet top-seeded Chinese duo of Luo Ying/Luo Yu.
India’s PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa have reached the quarterfinals of women’s singles, men’s singles and women’s doubles respectively after posting easy victories over their rivals on Thursday at the China Masters Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament at Changzhou. However, India’s men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akhshay Dewalkar went out of the fray after losing their second round match 17-21, 12-21 against seventh-seeded Chinese combo of Wang Yilyu/Zhang Wen. The 7th seeded Prannoy scored an easy 21-10, 21-15 win over Malaysia’s taking just 34 minutes on court. Prannoy will, however, have an uphill task next as he takes on the top seed Chen Long of China on Friday for a place in the semifinals. Women’s singles fourth-seed PV Sindhu also scored a comfortable 21-9, 21-17 victory in 33 minutes against Taiwan’s Chien Hui Yu. For a place in the last four, Sindhu will have to beat Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, who came through by beating China’s Shen Yaying 21-16, 21-9. Jwala/Ashwini also entered the quarterfinal with a 28-minute 21-12, 21-12 thrashing of Taiwanese duo of Hsieh Pei Chen/Wu Ti Jung. But like Prannoy, the Indian women doubles team will also have a tough quarterfinal against the Chinese top-seeded pair of Luo Ying/Luo Yu. In their second round match, Ying/Yu were fully stretched by Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai before managing to win 10-21, 21-10, 21-14 in a 72 minute duel.
Besides India’s Saina Nehwal, many top stars are missing the Chinese Grand Prix Gold tournament this year. While Carolina Marin, Ratchnok Intanon, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara don’t feature in women’s singles draw, Lee Chong Wei, Jan O Jorgensen, Viktor Axelsen and Kento momota are some of those skipping the men’s singles draw. However, China’s Li Xuerui, He Bingjiao, Sun Yu and Canadian Li Michelle participated in the tournament among women, while the men’s field has been enriched by the presence of world no.1 Chen Long and the Super Dan.