One of the survivors of the men’s singles bloodbath on Thursday, India’s Parupalli Kashyap continued with his brilliant performance in defeating Frenchman Brice Leverdez on Friday and sealed the semifinal berth in the $300,000 Singapore Open Super Series Badminton Tournament. Unfortunately, another Indian, HS Prannoy couldn’t play his quarterfinal against Japanese Kento Momota because of a toe injury with Momota sailing into the semis on a walk-over victory over the Indian. For a place in the final, Kashyap will play Hong Kong’s Hu Yun, who defeated China’s Tian Houwei, while Momota will take on Indonesian qualifier Simon Santoso, who beat Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the other quarterfinal. There were no surprises in the women’s singles draw, which has been devoid of China’s Li Xuerui, India’s Saina Nehwal and Spain’s Carolina Marin. Chinese women have secured all semifinal berths except one, which has been taken by Taiwan’s no.5 seed Tai Tzu Ying.
Thursday was one big day at Singapore, when several men’s seeds had to bite the dust. One among them was the India Open champion and no.3 seed Kidambi Srikanth, who fell to Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 15-21, 20-22. Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus suffered at the hands of France’s world no.32 Brice Leverdez in three tough games. After the Frenchman took the first game 21-13, Vittinghus leveled the score by taking the second game 21-19 but Leverdez was relentless in the third game and finally edged out Vittinghus 21-13 19-21 21-18. French Open champion and no.6 seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan lost to Japan’s Kento Momota in straight games and no.5 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark lost to Indonesia’s Simon Santoso 17-21, 21-16, 12-21. But the biggest upset of Thursday was reserved for the recent Maybank Malaysian champion Chen Long, who lost to Hong Kong’s no.6 seed Hu Yun 21-12, 17-21, 18-21.
Among the falling heap of seeded players, India’s Kashyap came through unscratched with a commendable 21-15, 22-20 victory over Korean fourth seed Son Wan Ho. Joining Kashyap in the quarterfinals on Thursday was another Indian HS Prannoy, who scored a shock victory over no.2 seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Prannoy didn’t have to work too hard in his 21-16, 21-8 victory over the off-color Dane.
On Friday, playing against Brice Leverdez, Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap took just 30 minutes to brush aside the Frenchman 21-6, 21-17. Kashyap’s game left Leverdez no option but to play the second fiddle. The Indian began with a 6-1 lead in the first game and continued dominating play despite the Frenchman closing in until 9-6. Afterwards, Kashyap reeled off 12 straight points to close the first game 21-6. In the second game too, Kashyap took a 4-1 lead and did not fall behind despite some solid efforts from Leverdez. The Indian did not lose his grip on the game and emerged as the runaway winner. The Indian will take on Chen Long’s conqueror Hong Kong’s Hu Yun on Saturday for a place in the final. Hu disposed of China’s Tian Houwei in the other quarterfinal with a 17-21, 21-18, 21-10. The other Indian, Prannoy was unfortunate in yielding a walk-over to Japan’s Kento Momota as his foot injury did not allow him to take the court. Momota will take on Indonesia’s Simon Santoso, who defeated Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-10, 21-19.
In the women’s quarterfinal matches played on Friday, Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying beat Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti 21-10, 21-14; China’s no.4 seed Wang Yihan defeated Thailand’s sixth seeded Ratchanok Intanon 10-21, 21-19, 21-12; no.2 seed Wang Shixian disposed of Japanese star Akane Yamaguchi 21-18, 21-18 and the third Chinese Sun Yu made it to the semifinal by beating another Japanese Nozomi Okuhara 21-17, 22-20.