Indian shuttlers began well at the Australian Super-Series at Sydney with most of them winning their first-round matches on day one, except PV Sindhu, who lost to Korea’s Kim Hyo Min. On the second day, however, Sameer Verma lost to Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in men’s draw while Tanvi Lad was no match to no.4 seeded Chinese Wang Yihan. But Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth played strong games against their second-round rivals and entered the quarterfinals. Saina Nehwal defeated Malaysia’s Jin Wei Goh while Srikanth defeated Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro. On Friday, Saina will have showdown with Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon while Srikanth squares up with Korean qualifier Kwang Hee Heo. The men’s draw at the Australian Open is depleted this year with several top stars pulling out for one reason or another. Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei withdrew because of a hip muscle injury and four of the other top eight seeds also withdrew. They are; Lin Dan, Viktor Axelsen, Jan O Jorgensen and Tommy Sugiarto. Similarly Spain’s world champion Carolina Marin is also missing in women’s draw.
India had a great first day at the Xiamenair Australian Super-series badminton tournament. Saina Nehwal defeated Australia’s Joy Lai 21-10, 21-14 in 29 minutes; Kidambi Srikanth beat Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus 21-16, 21-12 in 32 minutes; Sameer Verma fought hard against Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa before beating him 22-20, 15-21, 21-15 and Tanvi Lad defeated Australia’s Tiffany Ho 18-21, 21-14, 21-11. The worst scenario for India was the 15-21, 19-21 defeat of PV Sindhu by Korea’s Kim Hyo Min while RMV Gurusaidutt also lost 19-21, 21-12, 15-21 to Hong Kong’s Hu Yun. On Thursday, however, Sameer Verma and Tanvi Lad exited the tournament. Verma began promisingly against Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting and won the first game convincingly at 21-11. But the Indonesian bounced back smartly in the next two games to turn the tables on the Indian, winning the match at 11-21, 21-7, 21-19. As for Tanvi Lad, she had a mountain to climb against the no.4 seeded Chinese Wang Yihan and the Chinese just ran away with a 21-18, 21-6 demolition of the Indian woman.
In a long time, Kidambi Srikanth played impressively. After winning on Wednesday against the tricky Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong, Srikanth faced Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the second round on Thursday. The Indian showed his old touch in notching up a comfortable 34-minute 21-19, 21-12 victory over the Indonesian. For a place in the semifinal, Srikanth will play against Korea’s Kwang Hee Heo on Friday. Heo reached the quarterfinal after a walk-over, when China’s Wang Zhengming retired with the scores standing at 29-30, 21-12, 11-2.
Saina Nehwal has had a good time at the Australian Open so far. In her second round match on Thursday, Saina faced Malaysia’s Jin Wei Goh. The Indian didn’t face much trouble against the unseeded Goh and finished with an uneventful 21-12, 21-14 match victory. However, Saina’s quarterfinal rival is the formidable Thai woman Ratchanok Intanon, who has already won three super-series titles this season. In her second round match, Intanon played against Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin and outplayed her opponent in 26 minutes by recording a 21-7, 21-9 match victory.
In other matches on Thursday, top seeded Chen Long entered the quarterfinals with a 21-17, 21-12 victory over Malaysia’s Zulfadli Zulkiffli. The Chinese will now take on Anthony Ginting of Indonesia for a place in the semifinals. In women’s draw, apart from Saina Nehwal and Thailand’s Intanon, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, Taiwan’s Indonesia Open champion Tai Tzu Ying and four Chinese women, Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian and Sun Yu have also reached the quarterfinals after all matches were concluded on Thursday.