Thailand Open: Srikanth in semis; Saina, Prannoy out

Bangkok, June 7 (IANS) On a day when compatriots Saina Nehwal and Prannoy H.S. failed to clear the quarterfinals hurdle in the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here, Srikanth K. was the lone Indian to survive and march into the semifinals Friday.

Srikanth, seeded 13th, dominated his South Korean opponent Wan Ho Son taking just 40 minutes to beat him 21-17, 21-18.

Both players put on a brilliant display of the net game but it was the unforced errors on the part of the unseeded South Korean that cost him the game.

The Indian shuttler will next play Thammasin Sitthikom of Thailand in the semis.

Prannoy H.S, who had surprised compatriot and 10th seed Anand Pawar in the quarters, failed to find his earlier form and was easily dismantled by Indonesia’s Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo 12-21, 19-21 in 34 minutes.

Earlier in the day, World No.2 Saina exited the tournament going down to eighth seed Juan Gu of Singapore 21-13, 12-21, 18-21 in 53 minutes.

The Hyderabadi shuttler started the match on the front foot, never giving her opponent even a sniff of a chance in the opening game. However, her fortunes changed dramatically in the next game in which she won just two consecutive points.

It was neck-and-neck in the early part of the second game but after the score reached 6-6, Gu seemed to up the ante and never relinquished the lead thereafter.

The third game was an up-and-down battle with both players trading the lead. Gu, though trailing 13-15, took the initiative winning six points in a row to take the score to 19-15 in her favour.

Saina made a comeback of her own reducing the deficit to just one (18-19) but the Singaporean held her nerve to win her final two points and book a place in the semis where she will face seventh seeded Thai Busanan Ongbumrungpan.

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