PV Sindhu crashes out of Japan Open; Sai Praneeth advances to semi-finals

Tokyo: Olympic silver-medallist P V Sindhu crashed out of the Japan Open badminton tournament after a second successive defeat to local favourite Akane Yamaguchi while B Sai Praneeth continued his good form to advance to the semifinals here on Friday.

Sindhu lost to Yamaguchi 18-21 15-21 in a 50-minute women's singles quarter-final match. This was Sindhu's second defeat at the hands of Yamaguchi, who had beaten the Indian in the final of the Indonesian Open last week.

However, in men's singles, Sai Praneeth recorded an easy win over Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto to reach the semi-finals. His 21-12 21-15 win over Sugiarto fetched him a clash against top seeded Japanese Kento Momota in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, India's men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost to second seeded Japanese duo of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 19-21 18-21 in a 41-minute clash in the quarterfinals.

Sindhu was leading 12-7 in the first game but she squandered the advantage as her reigning Asian champion opponent clawed her way back to level the scores at 14-14.

From there on, Sindhu lost momentum allowing Yamaguchi to surge ahead to 18-15 and then to 20-16. Sindhu won two consecutive points to narrow the gap to 18-20 but could not stop her opponent from bagging the next point and the first game.

In the second game, both were locked 6-6 initially but from there on, it was Yamaguchi all the way as she raced to 13-7 and then to 16-10. Sindhu recovered a bit by winning two consecutive points but in no time, the Japanese had five match points and she wrapped up the tie without much hassle.

Sai Praneeth, in contrast, hardly broke a sweat as he just took 36 minutes to clinch up the match. The unseeded Indian led almost all through the first game leaving the former world championships bronze-medallist Indonesian to play the catch-up game.

The second game was a bit closer but Sai Praneeth kept the lead from the start. Not more than four points separated the two for most part but the Indian reeled off three consecutive points from 18-15 to win the match.

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