An Indian will be assured of a place in the Finals of the All England Championships if Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu both win their quarter-final matches tonight.
The only two Indians still left in contention at the prestigious event, Saina and Sindhu both won their second round matches on Thursday night. However, the one big casualty of the day was men's singles shuttler H.S. Prannoy who’s exit ended India’s challenge in the men’s draw.
Sixth seed Sindhu tamed Indonesian Dinar Dyah Ayustine in a 21-12, 21-4, while eighth seed Saina thumped German qualifier Fabienne Deprez 21-18, 21-10 in 35 minutes.
Prannoy failed to mount a challenge against Chinese seventh seed Tian Houwei, losing 13-21, 5-21 in 33 minutes.
Olympic 2016 silver medallist Sindhu was hardly troubled by World No.39 Ayustine, who came under a barrage of attacks from the Indian. Sindhu won the match in 30 minutes.
Sindhu led 12-3 in the first game and afterwards it was a formality. The second game turned out to be much more easy as Sindhu raced to victory conceding only four points. Sindhu zoomed to a 9-0 lead before the 23-year-old Indonesian bagged three points on the trot. The 21-year-old Sindhu continued her attacking spree and earned nine successive points without any fuss.
She will next meet the world number 1 in Friday’s quarter-final and a victory there will mean she books a possible final four encounter against Saina Nehwal.
Saina, on her part, had to battle hard to clinch the first game of her match on Thursday. The Indian looked a bit rusty at the very beginning, holding a 5-4 lead. She looked better as the game progressed that helped her take a 12-8 advantage. But German Fabienne fought back and equalised at the 12-point mark.
Afterwards, it turned out to be a see-saw battle till the 17-point mark when 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Saina really showed her experience to snatch the game with three successive points. The second game, however, saw Saina cruising nicely, holding a 11-6 lead at the mid-game break. Saina hardly broke into a sweat to notch a 21-10 win to progress into the quarter-finals.
Saina faces the third seed in her quarter-final fixture late on Friday night.