National champions P.V. Sindhu and K. Srikanth encountered unexpected resistance from little-known Malaysians on their way to the singles pre-quarterfinals of the $120,000 India Grand Prix badminton championship here on Wednesday.
Barring the losses of fifth seed Brice Leverdez (France) to 2013 Malaysia Grand Prix finalist Soon Huat Goh and 10th seed Misha Zilberman (Israel), who retired on match-point against Aditya Prakash, the opening day of the main draw action produced predictable winners. Top seeds P. Kashyap and Saina Nehwal brushed aside their friendly rivals to keep the option of spending more time at the nearest mall for the second straight day.
Interestingly, each of the eight ladies pre-quarterfinals features an Indian against an overseas challenger. Among the men, 12 Indians entered the round of 16. With a number of lower-ranked Malaysians testing some of India’s best, there were several good contests, including the ones featuring Sindhu and Srikanth.
Even in the last edition of the championship in December 2012, Sindhu opened the campaign against Li Lian Yang and won by dropping just 18 points. This time, Sindhu saved six game-points to prevail 21-19, 24-22 in 41 minutes.
Srikanth, the sixth seed and World no. 38, battled from an 8-15 deficit to save two game-points and win 21-15, 22-20 in 38 minutes against the 288th ranked Kian Meng Tan.
The results (prefix denotes seeding, Indians unless stated):
Men: (second round): 1-P. Kashyap bt Yee Han Chong (Mas) 21-10, 21-12; 12-Zulfadli Zulkiffli (Mas) bt N.V.S. Vijetha 21-17, 21-16; 7-H. S. Prannoy bt Nur Mohd Aziryn Ayub (Mas) 21-16, 19-21, 21-9; 15-Chetan Anand bt Surjan Nandulari 21-9, 21-7; 3-R. M. V. Gurusaidutt bt Vipul Saini 21-11, 21-11; 11-Sai Praneeth bt Saurav Kapoor 21-19, 21-9; 6-K. Srikanth bt Kian Meng Tan (Mas) 21-16, 22-20; 14-Arvind Bhat bt Joo Ven Soong (Mas) 21-14, 19-21, 21-14; Aditya Prakash bt 10-Misha Zilberman (Isr) 21-10, 20-13; Soon Huat Goh (Mas) bt 5-Brice Leverdez (Fra) 21-17, 21-18; 13-Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (Mas) bt Sachin Rawat 21-11, 21-11; 4-Anand Pawar bt Ashish Sharma 21-7, 21-8; 9-Xue Song (Chn) bt Aditya Joshi 21-9, 21-12; 8-Sourabh Varma bt Abhishek Yelegar 21-15, 21-11; 14-Subhankar Dey bt Kaushal Dharmamer 21-14, 9-21, 21-9; 2-Ajay Jayaram bt Teck Zhi Soo (Mas) 27-25, 21-15.
Women: (first round): 1-Saina Nehwal bt Matilda Petersen 21-7, 21-9; Natalia Perminova (Rus) bt Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 21-13, 21-19; 5-Bellaetrix Manuputty (Ina) bt Riya Pillai 21-14, 21-16; Dhanya Nair bt Rachita Sahdev 21-11, 21-19; Jing Yi Tee (Mas) bt Ruthvika Shivani 21-17, 21-15; Tanvi Lad bt Sarinatansah Saniru (Mas) 21-5, 16-21, 21-15; 6-Xuan Deng (Chn) bt Shruti Mundada 21-3, 21-6; Saili Rane bt Sachali Dasgupta 21-15, 21-15; Natcha Saengchote (Tha) bt Mohita Sahdev 21-13, 21-6; Arundhati Pantawane bt Sanskriti Chhabra 21-7, 21-16; Sayali Gokhale bt Mudra Dhainje 21-17, 21-18; 4-Lindaweni Fanetri (Ina) bt Arathi Sara Sunil 21-11, 21-10; Santoshi Hasini bt Juhi Dewangan 21-16, 16-21, 21-18; 7-Hera Desi (Ina) bt P. C. Thulasi 21-17, 21-7; Sabrina Jaquet (Swi) bt Trupti Murgunde 21-17, 21-14; 2-P. V. Sindhu bt Li Lian Yang (Mas) 21-19, 24-22.
Keywords: India Grand Prix badminton championship