Star India shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth notched up comfortable victories but it was young Mumbai player Harsheel Dani who hogged the limelight at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold when he stunned H.S. Prannoy in straight games to storm into the quarterfinals here today. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu took just 20 minutes to brush aside compatriot Lalita Dahiya 21-7 21-12 to set up a clash with another Indian qualifier bespectacled Vaidehi Choudhari, while defending champion Srikanth prevailed over fellow Indian Ansal Yadav 21-15 21-16 in a 38-minute clash. He will face seventh seed Malaysian Zulfadli Zulkiffli next.
The highlight of the day was, however, the shocking loss of Swiss Open champion Prannoy, who suffered a 18-21 18-21 defeat at the hands of 20-year-old Harsheel, seeded 15th, who has been training at the Uday Pawar Academy in Mumbai for the last 14 years. Left-handed Harsheel, the runners-up of the 2015 Turkey International Open, had reached the quarters at the last edition also. He will look to make the semifinals of the tournament when he faces Emil Holst, 12th seeded Denmark shuttler.
Holst mauled India’s Siddharth Pratap Singh 21-8 21-11. “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,” Dani 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 Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, second seed, 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.
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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 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.