Thailand Open: Sindhu, Sameer crash out, Satwiksairaj-Ashwini in semis

Ashwini Ponappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. File photo: IANS

Bangkok: World champion P V Sindhu dished out a below-par performance to lose her quarterfinal match, while Sameer Verma's gallant fight ended in agony at the Toyota Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament here on Friday.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponappa, however, entered the mixed doubles semifinal with a stunning win over world No. 6 pair of Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia in a nail-biting quarterfinal.

Olympic silver medallist Sindhu looked a pale shadow of the player who had won the World Championship gold in 2019 as she was all at sea against home favourite Ratchanok Inthanon, who rode on her precision and quality of strokes to outclass the Indian 21-13, 21-9 in a lopsided contest.

In men's singles, Sameer's giant-killing run also came to an end after he squandered a match point to go down 13-21, 21-19, 20-22 to world No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the uarterfinal.

With the defeat of Sindhu and Sameer, Indian challenge in singles competition ended in the tournament.

The only bright spot was the duo of Satwik and Ashwini as they shocked the fifth-seeded Malaysian pair 18-21, 24-22, 22-20 after toiling for one hour and 15 minutes.

The world No. 22 Indian pair will be up against top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.

Ratchanok, who had lost to Sindhu in their last three meetings, came out with a positive intent and eked out a three-point lead early on even as Sindhu failed to control her shots. The Thai soon grabbed a four-point advantage at the first-game interval.

Sindhu looked to force the pace after the break and caught up at 13-13. However, it was a one-way traffic after that as Ratchanok blew the Indian away with eight straight points to pocket the opening game without much ado.

The change of sides didn't bring any change of fortunes for Sindhu as she trailed 1-7 at one stage before going into the break seven points behind her rival.

After the breather, Ratchanok eased to 19-7 before grabbing 12 match points. The Thai missed a point due to a misjudgement at the backline before shutting the match with another precise return.

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