Top Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Orleans Masters badminton tournament after defeating their respective opponents in women’s and men’s singles here on Thursday.
Top-seeded Srikanth beat Cheam Jun Wei of Malaysia 21-17 22-20 in a men’s singles third round match, as London Olympics bronze medallist Saina prevailed over France’s Marie Batomene in the women’s singles second round.
Srikanth took 46 minutes to beat his Malaysian opponent. He will face either Toma Junior Popov of France or qualifier Philip Illum Klindt of Denmark in the last-eight stage.
Running against time to make it to her fourth Olympics, Saina recovered from the opening game reversal to see off world No. 65 Marie 18-21 21-15 21-10 in a 51-minute clash in the Super 100 event, which is part of BWF’s revised Olympic qualification period. The fourth seeded Indian, who had pulled out of last week’s All England Championships due to a thigh injury, will face Malaysia’s Iris Wang next.
Chirag Sen, however, lost his men’s singles match to Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 21-14 9-21 17-21.
Ira Sharma, ranked 162, also made it to the quarterfinals after beating Bulgaria’s world No. 71 Mariya Mitsova 21-18 21-13 in 32 minutes. The 21-year-old Indian is likely to clash against Denmark’s Line Christophersen next. The seventh seeded men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also progressed to the quarterfinals with a 21-11 21-12 win over the English duo of Rory Easton and Zach Russ. The Indians face another English pair of Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood in the last-eight stage.
Kapila then paired with Ashwini Ponnappa to beat the English mixed doubles duo of Callum Hemming and Victoria Williams 21-12 21-18 and enter the quarterfinals. Another Indian men’s doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala beat the Danish duo of Kristian Hoholdt Kramer and Marcus Rindsh 21-7 21-13 to reach the quarterfinals stage.
On Wednesday, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, seeded eighth, scraped past the Denmark duo of Amalie Magelund and Freja Ravn 21-9 17-21 21-19 in women’s doubles. However, Mithun Manjunath went down fighting 21-23 21-9 22-24 to Germany’s Kai Schaefer in a gruelling contest.
(With inputs from PTI)