Saina out, Krishna-Vishnu duo enters maiden Super 100 final at Orleans Masters

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Paris, Mar 27 (PTI) Saina Nehwal bowed out in straight games in the women's singles semifinals but the unheralded duo of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala kept India in the title hunt by storming into the men's doubles final at Orleans Masters here on Saturday.

London Olympic bronze medallist Saina lost 17-21 17-21 to Denmark's Line Christophersen in 28 minutes, while the women's duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy faltered 18-12 9-21 to the top seeded Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in the semifinals.

However, Krishna and Vishnu cheered up the Indian camp with a 21-17 21-17 win over the English pair of Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood in a 35-minute semifinal clash to reach their maiden final of a Super 100 event.

The Indian duo, playing its first event together this year, will take on fourth seeded English pair of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in the title clash on Sunday.

In the mixed doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Dhruv Kapila lost their semifinal match to the Danish pair of Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund, 9-21 23-21 7-21.

Krishna and Vishnu had a slender 4-2 early on but the English pair soon jumped to a 11-8 lead at the break. However, the Indians caught up at 13-13 and marched on to seal the opening game.

In the second game, Krishna and Vishnu slowly moved ahead to a 11-7 advantage at the interval and even though their rivals narrowed down the gap to 15-17, the Indian duo ensured there was no hiccups.

Krishna, 21, is India's top ranked doubles player and used to pair up with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in his junior days. Krishna and Satwik had won the Asian Under-17 title together.

After Satwik and Chirag Shetty were paired together, Krishna started playing with Dhruv Kapila since November 2016. The duo continued for two and half years before separating in 2019.

Krishna had earlier paired with Shlok Ramchandran also. He had produced a dazzling performance in the 2019 Premier Badminton League alongside Lee Yong Dae for the North Eastern Warriors.

For the 20-year-old Vishnu, it's his first international tournament at the senior level. A tall and aggressive player from Hyderabad, Vishnu has also played with a few other Indian doubles players in his junior days.

Vishnu and Ishaan Bhatnagar had reached the finals at the 2019 Bulgarian Junior international. PTI ATK KHS PDS AH AH