2019 Hong Kong Open: Indians endure a difficult day

World champion PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy bow out while Srikanth Kidambi makes quarterfinals.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian shuttlers endured a rather poor day at the 2019 Hong Kong Open Super 500 on Thursday with big guns like PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy bowing out of the competition.

While Sindhu’s poor form post her World Championships triumph continued with yet another early exit, losing to unseeded Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand, Kashyap ran out of luck as he bowed out after a draining three-game match against second seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. Meanwhile, Prannoy was thoroughly outplayed by 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia

Quick star

Prannoy was quick to get off the blocks against the 22-year-old Christie. Banking on his quick returns, the Indian ensured that he barely gave his opponent enough time to react and raced a 4-1 lead after the initial exchange.

India’s HS Prannoy has faced Lin Dan five times, winning on three occasions.

But Christie was quick to alter his gameplan as he used the width of the court to his benefit and pushed the shuttle away, making Prannoy work harder for his returns. While the Indian managed a few, he was found wanting more often than not, as the Indonesian raced to an 11-7 lead by the mid-game interval. 

Post the break, Christie ensured that there was no way back for Prannoy as he dominated the proceedings with his smart shot selections and precise smashes, while the Indian’s struggle with the drift made it easier for him to take the opening game 21-12 in no time.

Similar pattern

Down by a game, Prannoy looked determined to make amends and take the match to Christie. Mixing his shots well, the 27-year-old ensured the Indonesian was not allowed any opening to assert his supremacy, racing to a 8-3 lead in no time.

Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie was in fine form as he beat HS Prannoy of India to move into the quarterfinals.

But just when it seemed that the Indian would build on his promising start, it started to fall apart. Christie clawed his way back into the tie and Prannoy went into the mid-game interval with a slender 11-9 lead.

The lead, however, didn’t stand for long as the Indonesian was once again back on top. And even though Prannoy tried his best to find a way back, Christie ensured that he didn’t grant his opponent any leeway before closing the match at 21-19.B

Srikanth through

Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, India’s Srikanth Kidambi fought his way past a tough Sourabh Verma to book his place in Friday’s quarterfinals. 

The World No. 13 Srikanth took the opening game 21-11 before losing the second 15-21. However, he kept his composure to see out his compatriot Verma 21-19 in the third to win the match.

Sindhu

Tough day

Taking the court for her second round game, Sindhu seemed in control of the proceedings for a while before Ongbamrungphan started to pull away with some quality stroke play. Though the Thai took the opening game 21-18, Sindhu ensured that it didn’t hurt her composure, as she came roaring back to take the second 21-11.

Riding on the momentum in the third game, the Indian shuttler tried her best to wrap up the tie in her favour, but her Thai opponent was in no mood to let the prize slip. Ongbamrungphan matched Sindhu stroke-for-stroke and eventually raced ahead to pocket the match 21-11, 11-21, 21-16.

Kashyap too was in for a similar treatment as the Indian couldn’t build on the momentum from the opening game and ended up squandering the match 21-12, 21-23, 10-21 against a quality player in Chen.