China Open Superseries Premier: PV Sindhu sails into quarter-finals as Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy crash out

Fuzhou, China: Defending champion PV Sindhu sailed into the quarter-finals but newly-crowned national champions Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy crashed out of the China Open Super Series Premier in Fuzhou on Thursday.

World No 2 Sindhu emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the event after she made quick work of China's Han Yue 21-15 21-13, an opponent ranked at 104 in BWF ranking, in a lop-sided 40-minute women's singles match.

Olympic silver medallist Sindhu will clash with another Chinese qualifier Gao Fangjie on Friday.

 China Open Superseries Premier: PV Sindhu sails into quarter-finals as Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy crash out

File photo of PV Sindhu. AP

It turned out to be a dismal day for Nehwal and Prannoy, who had clinched the National Championship titles at Nagpur earlier this month.

While Nehwal lost to Japanese nemesis and fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi 18-21 11-21 in the women's singles second round, world No 11 Prannoy was stunned by 53rd ranked Cheuk Yiu Lee of Hong Kong 21-19 21-17 in the men's singles event.

For Nehwal, the match against Yamaguchi was always expected to be a tricky one considering her inferior head-to-head record against the Japanese shuttler.

Before the start of Thursday's match, Nehwal trailed Yamaguchi one-to-three in head-to-head record with their three previous results going in favour of the Japanese shuttler.

Nehwal, thus, suffered her fourth defeat — three of them in the last one month — against Yamaguchi in 2017.

The London Olympic bronze-medallist, who won the title in Fuzhou in 2014, got off to a good start, taking a slender 11-9 lead but Yamaguchi fought back to pocket the first game 21-18.

Down by a game, Nehwal started to deteriorate. She lacked momentum in the second game and never looked in the mental frame to make a comeback, even as Yamaguchi comfortably took control of the proceedings.

The Japanese never looked in trouble after taking the first game and did not fall behind for a single moment in the second as she sealed the match with consummate ease in just 37 minutes.

Later in the day, world No 11 Prannoy went down fighting to less-fancied Lee in a second-round clash that lasted 42 minutes.

The encounter started with both Prannoy and Lee exchanging quick early points before the Hong Kong shuttler raced to a two-point lead.

Prannoy tried to stage a comeback but Lee took an 11-9 lead at the interval.

After the break, Prannoy tried hard to shift the momentum but never really managed to achieve that as Lee took the first game 21-19.

Prannoy played his heart out and took a slender one-point lead (11-10) at the break in the second game.

But after the break, exhaustion seemed to have caught up Prannoy as the Indian struggled, enabling Lee to make a comeback and finally wrap up the contest 21-17.

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Updated Date: Nov 16, 2017 19:35:08 IST