Japan Open: Pranaav-Sikki enter semifinals

TOKYO: It was a mixed day for the Indian shuttlers as the mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advanced to the semifinals of the Japan Open while on the other hand Kidambi Srikanth lost in the quarterfinals of the Japan Open Super Series to world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

After clinching this win Axelsen now enjoys a 3-2 head-to-head lead over Srikanth in five meetings, having won the last three duels. US Open champion H S Prannoy too suffered a 15-21 14-21 loss to China’s second seed Shi Yuqi in 45 minutes to crash out in the last-eight stage.

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But Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold champions Pranaav and Sikki kept India’s flag fluttering, defeating Korea’s Seung Jae Seo and Kim Ha Na 21-18 9-21 21-19 to set up a clash with Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hirota in the next round.

Srikanth committed several blunders and squandered 16-13 and 9 -6 advantages in the first and second games respectively. Axelsen, on the other hand, showed great agility and used his smashes to good use to outwit the Indian.