Kidambi Srikanth
Kidambi SrikanthIANS (FIle photo)

Badminton: Srikanth, Saina, Ira in quarters of Orleans Masters

Orleans (France), March 25, 2021

India's Kidambi Srikanth in the men's category and Saina Nehwal and Ira Sharma in the women's section reached the quarter-finals of the Orleans Masters Super 1000 badminton tournament here on Thursday.

In mixed doubles, India's Dhruv Kapila and Ashwini Ponnappa and, in men's doubles, Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala also advanced to the quarter-finals.

Srikanth reached the quarter-finals with a 21-17, 22-20 win over Malaysia's June Wei Cheam in 46 minutes in a Round of 16 match.

Nehwal beat France's Marie Batomene 18-21, 21-15, 21-10 in a pre-quarter-finals match. Sharma, who progressed to the main draw from the qualification round, beat Bulgaria's Mariya Mitsova 21-18, 21-13.

In mixed doubles, Kapila and Ashwini defeated Callum Hemming and Victoria Williams of England 21-12, 21-18 in 32 minutes in a Round of 16 match to enter quarter-finals.

In a Round of 16 men's doubles encounter, India's Garaga and Panjala made short work of Denmark's Kristian Høholdt Kræmer and Marcus Rindshøj 21-17, 21-13, in just 28 minutes.

Nehwal, seeded fourth in the tournament, struggled in the first game against Batomene, ranked 65th in the world. The pair went toe-to-toe for much of the game before Batomene won three consecutive points from 17-17 to reach game point.

However, Nehwal gained control of the match in the subsequent games, winning three consecutive points to start off the second game and going into the interval with a 11-6 lead. She maintained a six-point lead for much of the game, taking it 21-15.

Nehwal then won four consecutive points from 17-10 to sail into the quarterfinals. The 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist now faces either Iris Wang of the US or France's Yaelle Hoyaux in the quarter-final.

Sharma secured her second win over higher-ranked opposition in Orleans. Ranked 162nd, 21-year-old Sharma had defeated 110th ranked LeOnice Huet in the first round before her win over the 71st ranked Mitsova.

Ira did well to come back from a 4-9 deficit in the first game, fighting back to level the scores at 12-12. She then took the lead and never turned back, winning four consecutive points to race to 16-12. She won another three consecutive points to reach 20-15 and while Mitsova saved three game points, Sharma took the game with a three-point gap.

The second game was poised at 11-10 in Sharma's favour before the Indian raced away post the interval. She took seven consecutive points to lead 18-10 and took the game 21-13. Sharma faces Denmark's Line Christophersen in the quarter-final.

Men's doubles pair M. R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also reached the quarter-finals after beating England's Rory Easton and Zach Russ 21-11, 21-12. They now face another English pair, Callum Hemming and Steven Stalwood, in the last eight stage.

Earlier, Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy reached the women's doubles quarter-finals after receiving a walkover in the second round against Indonesia's Fabriana Kusuma and Amalia Pratiwi.

In a match, India's mixed doubles pair Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy lost 10-21, 7-21 to the Danish combination Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund in a Round of 16 match.

In a men's singles match of the Round of 16, India's Kiran George lost 15-21, 21-14, 19-21 to Brice Leverdez of France. Chirag Sen also lost in the pre-quarter-finals, against Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of 21-14, 9-21, 17-21 in 43 minutes.


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