Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and rising star Kidambi Srikanth recorded convincing wins in their respective women’s and men’s singles matches to march into the quarterfinals of the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold. However, in the biggest upset of day Mumbai youngster Harsheel Dani stunned HS Prannoy, winning in straight games, to also reach the quarters of the tournament on Thursday. Sindhu beat Lalita Dahiya 21-7, 21-12 while Srikanth prevailed 21-15, 21-16 over Ansal Yadav in the men’s event.
Sindhu hardly broke a sweat as she brushed aside Dahiya to set up a clash with another Indian qualifier Vaidehi Choudhari.
Srikanth on the other hand was given a good work out but his experience and powerplay saw him outclass Ansal in a 38-minute clash. He will face seventh seed Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Malaysia in the quarters.
The day, however, belonged to 20-year-old Harsheel who brought Swiss Open champion Prannoy’s progress in the tournament to a screeching halt with a memorable 21-18, 21-18 win.
Harsheel, seeded 15th in the tournament, had reached the last 8 of the Syed Modi in the last edition and will now look to go one step further when he faces 12th seed Emil Holst of Denmark.
The Danish shuttler thrashed India’s Siddharth Pratap Singh 21-8, 21-11 in his pre-quarters match.
“I had defeated him once before. He is an attacking player and I am happy that I could beat him and defend my ranking points. My net game was not coming good in the tournament but today my strokes came good. I had injured my shoulder last year at Canada Open and so lost two months. Also I had my studies to attend. This year, I will play the Senior nationals and then go for Austria and Germany,” Harsheel, who was the runners-up at the 2015 Turkey International Open, told PTI.
Verma brothers — Sameer and Sourabh — also reached the quarters with straight game wins.
While Hong Kong Super Series finalist Sameer, seeded eighth, beat Malaysia’s Wei Feng Chong, seeded 10th, 21-15, 21-16, Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold winner Sourabh, seeded 11th, beat compatriot Lakshya Sen 21-14, 21-16 in another match.
Sameer will next take on World No. 14 and second seed Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who defeated India’s Abhishek Yelegar 21-18, 21-5, while Sourabh will face ninth seed B Sai Praneeth, who eked out a 21-17, 21-19 win over fifth seeded Anders Antonsen of Denmark.
In women’s singles, Polish Open winner Rituparna Das, who had joined Gopichand Academy after winning the under-13 Nationals in 2010, dispatched Russia’s Ksenia Polikarpova, eighth seed, 21-12, 21-19 to set up a clash with fourth seed Fitriani of Indonesia.
“She was catching my overhead shots, I tried to push her at the back of the court, basically bring her back and forth as her agility was not good,” said Rituparna, who switched to badminton from table tennis on her mother’s insistence.
“I had injured my left knee in Sri Lanka during a tournament and needed almost a year to recover. I recovered and played 2016 India Open in New Delhi and then played three tournaments at Europe, and four at Asia. At Vietnam, I played a GP and a challenger and then played at Thailand and Hyderabad event which I won,” she said.