Syed Modi badminton | Priyanshu runs Prannoy close

H.S. Prannoy just about survived a serious threat from Priyanshu Rajawat in the men’s pre-quarterfinals after P.V. Sindhu led five Indians into the women’s last-eight stage of the $150,000 Syed Modi India International badminton tournament here on Thursday.

On a day when out of 15 matches featuring Indians taking on overseas rivals, only three produced home winners, Prannoy and Sindhu won in contrasting manner.

Priyanshu, ranked 127, raised visions of making the men’s quarterfinals when he led 16-13 in the decider. In fact, he led until 18-17 before Prannoy, ranked 24th, reeled off four straight points to end the 64-minute contest.

Match points saved

Mithun Manjunath was the only other Indian to match Prannoy’s efforts. Mithun, ranked 121, saved two match-points to outlast 65th-ranked Malaysian Soong Joo Ven 16-21, 21-16, 23-21 in 80 minutes.

Meanwhile, all women quarterfinalists from the bottom half of the draw are Indians while Sindhu is the only home interest left in the top half.

Sindhu defeated Malaysia’s Lauren Lam 21-16, 21-13 in 33 minutes to set up a clash with sixth-seeded Thai Supanida Katethong, a 21-11, 21-7 winner over Kriti Bharadwaj. Having lost to Supanida last week in the India Open, Sindhu will be looking to settle a score.

Malvika Bansod plays favourite Aakarshi Kashyap and Anupama Upadhyaya faces Samiya Imad Farooqui for the two assured semifinal spots for Indians.

Covid cases

Meanwhile, Covid positive cases sent out three Indian pairs. After Malaysia’s doubles player Valeree Siow complained of vertigo and pulled out, Venkat Gaurav Prasad tested positive to be out of men’s doubles (with Ayush Makhija) and mixed doubles (with Juhi Dewangan). Vighnesh Devlekar also tested positive and withdrew with doubles partner Deep Rambhiya.

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