Tokyo: It was a mixed day for India at the Japan Open as ace shuttler B. Sai Praneeth entered the semifinals while Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu was knocked out of the $750,000 tournament.
While Praneeth defeated Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto to make it to the last four, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi defeated Sindhu in straight games to knock her out of the competition on Friday.
In men’s singles event, Praneeth was at the top of his game as he beat Sugiarto 21-12, 21-15 in his last-eight match that lasted for just 36 minutes.
The former Singapore Open champion was in complete control of the proceedings against his higher-ranked opponent. He led almost all through the first game after 1-1 and Sugiarto was playing a catch-up game thereafter as the Indian won the game 21-12.
The second game was a bit closer but Praneeth made sure he doesn’t get complacent and went on to win the game 21-15, thereby progressing to the semifinals. He next faces top seeded Japanese Kento Momota for a place in the summit clash.
This is only the second semi-final appearance for the world number 23 on the tour in 2019.
In women’s singles, Sindhu once again failed to go past Yamaguchi as she suffered a 18-21, 15-21 defeat in her quarterfinal match that lasted for 50 minutes.
Fifth-seed Sindhu, who went down in the Indonesia Open final to the Japanese, started on a good note taking a 11-7 lead at the interval in the first game. However, Yamaguchi made a stunning comeback and went on to win the game 21-18.
In the next game also, the fourth-seeded Japanese didn’t let her foot of the peddle and made sure she didn’t give Sindhu any opportunity to take the match to the third game.
Yamaguchi showed brilliant skill-set and went on to win the game 21-15 to set up a semi-final date with China’s Chen Yu Fei.