Kidambi Srikanth bowed out but top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty came up with a smashing performance to enter the quarterfinals as India had a mixed day in office in badminton competition of the Asian Games on Wednesday. In a contest that lasted a marathon 84 minutes, Satwik and Chirag prevailed 24-22 16-21 21-12 against Indonesian duo of Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin, who were not willing to concede even an inch to the celebrated Indian duo, ranked No. 3 in the world. Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and world championships bronze medallist HS Prannoy also sailed into the quarterfinals of the women’s and men’s singles events respectively with straight game wins.
However, it was curtains for Srikanth as he went down against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, a world championships silver medallist, 16-21 17-21 in pre quarterfinals.
In men’s doubles, the Indonesian world No.11 pair never looked like they were the underdogs, matching the Indians in every aspect, though Satwik’s lethal smashes made the difference in the first game.
The Indians didn’t get the start they would have liked in the second game and trailed for much of the entire 28 minutes the set lasted.
The third game too saw the Indonesians take an early lead but the Indians closed out the match with relative ease 21-12 to secure their place in the last-eight.
Earlier, former world champion Sindhu won the round of 16 match against Putri Kusuma Wardani 21-16 21-16, sealing it in her favour without breaking a sweat against the hapless Indonesian.
Sindhu will line up against China’s He Bingjiao in the quarterfinals, and will fancy her chances against the Chinese having denied her a medal at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago.
Bingjiao won 21-10 21-4 against Rasila Maharjan of Nepal.
Prannoy also booked his spot in the quarterfinals as he beat Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Panarin 21-12 21-13.
Sindhu was excellent in rallies and dictated terms to her opponent from the go, and so was Prannoy, India’s best singles player at the moment who, unfortunately, could not feature in the team event final against China owing to an injury.
However, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand were knocked out in the round of 16 by the Korean pair of Kim Soyeong and Kong Heeyong. The Koreans won 21-15, 18-21, 21-13.
Earlier, India’s Tanisha Crasto and Sai Pratheek Krishna Prasad were also bowed out in the Round of 16 after a defeat to Malaysia’s Toh Ee Wei and Chen Tang Jie.
The Malaysian duo won 21-18, 21-18.
For former world no. 1 Srikanth, it was always going to be a tricky affair against in-form Naraoka, who had claimed the silver at World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark this year.
Expectedly, the match started with Srikanth and Naraoka moving 5-5 but the Indian fell behind 9-11 at the break. The Japanese continued his run, moving to 18-14 and soon grabbed six game points.
Srikanth saved two game points before the Japanese prevailed in 24 minutes.
The second game also started on an even keel but slowly Naraoka again gained an upper hand and once again held a two-point advantage at the interval. After resumption, Srikanth levelled the scores at 13-13 with a half smash but the Japanese moved to 18-16 before sealing it comfortably.
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