Syed Modi badminton: Sameer, Saina win; Ashwini and Satwik too enter doubles semis

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Sameer Verma stayed on course for his title defence while three-time former champion Saina Nehwal too reached the semifinals with an easy win at the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 tournament here Friday.

Besides Sameer and Saina, Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwik Rankireddy too notched up twin victories to keep India’s title hopes alive in all the three doubles categories.

Sameer, who won the Swiss Open and Hyderabad Open this year, eked out a 21-18 16-21 21-11 win over China’s Zhou Zeqi and will square off against Indonesian Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the semifinals.

Saina, who claimed a second gold at Commonwealth Games and an Asian Games bronze this season, beat former national champion Rituparna Das 21-19 21-14 to set up a meeting with Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan.

In men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty defeated Chinese combination of Ou Xuanyi and Ren Xiangyu 15-21 21-19 21-17 to set up a semifinal clash with London Olympics silver medallists Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark.

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The Indian duo has lost four times to the celebrated Danish pair in close matches.

Satwiksairaj also paired up with Ashwini to outclass Indonesia’s Ronald and Annisa Saufika 20-22 21-17 21-11 in the mixed doubles quarterfinals. The duo will face Chinese Ou Xuanyi and Feng Xueying next.

Ashwini too combined with her women’s doubles partner N Sikki Reddy to prevail 19-21 21-8 21-18 over Indonesia’s Tania Oktaviani Kusumah and Vania Arianti Sukoco. The duo will square off against Russian pair of Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova.

However, there was disappointment in store in men’s singles as former two-time champion Parupalli Kashyap and 2017 Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth bowed out after suffering contrasting defeats.

Kashyap went down 16-21 19-21 to eighth seeded Thai Sitthikom Thammasin, while Praneeth’s fight ended with a 10-21 21-19 14-21 loss to sixth seeded Chinese Lu Guangzu in another quarterfinal.

Young Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka also showed the stomach to fight as she went down 9-21 21-19 12-21 to former Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in a thrilling contest.

Among other Indians, Kuhoo Garg and Ningshi Block Hazarika lost 6-21 14-21 to fifth seeded Russian pair of Ekaterina and Alina, while B Sumeeth Reddy and Pooja Dandu suffered a narrow 18-21 21-16 19-21 loss to fourth seeded Indonesian pair of Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari.

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