It was a mixed day for Indian shuttlers at the All England Championships on Thursday as PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy progressed to the quarter-finals, but Kidambi Srikanth and the young pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered defeats in their respective second round matches.
PV Sindhu in action. PTI
Fourth seed Sindhu edged past Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand in a marathon match, taking more than an hour to beat the Thai shuttler 21-13, 13-21, 21-18.
After winning the first game easily, Sindhu found it difficult in the second game as she surrendered the game without giving much fight. In the decider, it was neck-and-neck till the end but at 18-18 Sindhu took three straight points to wrap up the match.
Later in the day, Prannoy outclassed Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto 21-10, 21-19 to enter his maiden quarter-final. The World No 16 took an early lead in the first game and went into the mid-game break with a five-point advantage at 11-6. Prannoy was quick enough to finish the opening game with ease. However, Sugiarto gave a tough fight to Prannoy in the second game but the Indian shuttler eventually squeezed out a win.
Srikanth could have set up an interesting all-Indian quarter-final with Prannoy but he was beaten 11-21, 21-15, 20-22 by World No 42 Huang Yuxiang of China.
The Indian ace made a slow start, allowing Huang to bag points with ease and the Chinese won the first game 21-11 in just 12 minutes. Srikanth was slow to react against Brice Leverdez in the opening round as well but the third-seeded Indian bounced back in the second game and maintained a healthy lead to draw level, winning the second game 21-15 to force a decider.
It was a close contest in the third game and the Chinese shutter saved two match points to clinch the game 22-20 and the match in 52 minutes.
"I didn't start well but then I came back really well in both the games. I missed out on easy points in the third. Well, there were too many service faults in the opening game. I didn't expect that to happen. Yesterday I didn't get any, today it was totally changed. That should not happen in a tournament. There should be a specific rule," said Srikanth.
"The umpire couldn't find faults yesterday (Wednesday) but today the umpire sitting found too many faults. It is ridiculous," an upset Srikanth added.
In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went down fighting to the second-seeded pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. The India pair lost 16-21, 21-16, 21-23 in the contest which lasted more than an hour.
"We are playing better. we need more experience. We got 2-3 service faults in crucial moments. we were down in the first game and it was same until the end. In the second we could pull off but in the third game we were neck and neck," Satwik said.
"We lost three times to them, it was always close. Unfortunate today after every two points in crucial points we had service faults. This is our first All England, so there is a little bit of nerves. We were bit unlucky today," Chirag said.
In the last match of the day, the mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy were beaten by Wang Yilhu and Huang Dongping 10-21, 6-21.
Sindhu will clash against seventh-seeded Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in a rematch of the World Championship final, which was one of the greatest battles in women's badminton.
With inputs from PTI