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India Open: Ashwini-Sikki stun Chinese pair

Source: PTI
March 26, 2019 21:56 IST
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Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy

IMAGE: India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy in action during their women’s doubles match against China’s world No. 18 pair of Li Wenmei and Zheng Yu at the India Open, in Delhi, on Tuesday. Photograph: BAI media/Twitter

Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy scored a stunning straight games victory over China's world No. 18 Li Wenmei and Zheng Yu to make it to the second round in the women's doubles at the US $350,000 India Open, in Delhi, on Tuesday.

The world No. 23 Indian pair, which finished runners-up at the Syed Modi International World Tour Super 300 tournament, stunned the Li-Zheng combination 22-20, 21-19 in the opening round.


"We got really good training last week. We had stretched top players but couldn't convert it to a win, so it gives us a lot of confidence to be able to do that," Ashwini said after the match.

The men's doubles duo of Arjun MR and Shlok Ramachandran, however, suffered a 16-21, 18-21 defeat to the Chinese pair of Huang Kaixiang and Wang Zekang and bowed out of the World Tour Super 500 tournament.

Indian shuttlers, as expected, dominated the qualifying round, with eight singles and 10 doubles pairs from the country securing berths in the main draw.

As many as 13 shuttlers out of 16 in the men's singles qualifiers were from India. From there Rahul Yadav Chittaboina, Siddharath Thakur, Kartik Jindal and Kartikey Gulshan Kumar made it to the main draw.

World No. 257 Jindal hardly broke a sweat in dismissing the 365-ranked Pavel Kotsarenko in the first round. He was then made to work hard by a spirited Sarath Dunna, who had knocked out Yehezkiel Fritz Mainaky, 21-9, 17-21, 21-16 in his opening round.

Dunna showed the same resolve against Jindal before going down 12-21, 23-21, 19-21 in a tight contest that lasted 53 minutes.

"I feel delighted qualifying for the main draw but need to recover from today's play for tomorrow's match against Khosit Phetpradab from Thailand," the 20-year-old Jindal said.

Chittaboina recorded a 21-14, 21-15 victory over Anant Shivam Jindal to qualify for main draw. Thakur was equally impressive in his 21-6, 21-13 win over Gurpartap Singh Dhaliwal and was joined by Kartikey Gulshan Kumar.

In the women's singles, Ritika Thaker, Prashi Joshi, Riya Mookerjee, and Vaidehi Choudhari progressed out of the eight qualifiers, which featured six Indians.

While Thaker will face eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt, Joshi and Choudhari have tough opponents in the form of third seed He Bingjiao and seventh seed Han Yue respectively.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra, one-half of India's mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy, had an easy outing alongside Shivam Sharma in the men's doubles qualifying round where all eight pairs were Indians.

The duo needed just 19 minutes to prevail over Vikas Chauhan and Sandeep Choudhary 21-10, 21-5.

In women's doubles, Megha Morchana Bora and Manali Sinha staved off a stiff resistance from Anamika Kashyap and Sanghamitra Saikia to register a 24-22, 21-13 win.

In mixed doubles, Aparna Balan and Mohamed Muanis went down to the experienced Hong Kong pair of Tang Chun Man and NG Tsz Yau.

On Wednesday, 2017 champion PV Sindhu will start her campaign against compatriot Mugdha Agrey, while 2015 winner Kidambi Srikanth meets a tricky rival in Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the opening round and fifth seed Sameer Verma has Rasmus Gemke of Denmark as his first round opponent.

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