Not one of the four ace Indian singles shuttlers and one men’s doubles pair could win their semi-final matches against their opponents at Sydney Olympic Park’s indoor stadium on Thursday (June 6).
Considering the contrast between their Badminton World Federation rankings, it was no surprise that rank 24 B. Sai Praneeth lost to World No. 7 Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting by a 23-25, 9-21 scoreline within 42 minutes.
Even though, Praneeth continued to play his steady shots, Ginting outpaced the 23-year-old Indian with his aggressive smashes and counter-attacks.
In the ‘battle of the veterans’, rank 38 Parupalli Kashyap conceded defeat to World No. 6 Lin Dan by 17-21, 22-20, 14-21, after 66 minutes of struggle. Kashyap matched the Olympic medalist in most departments in the first two sets. However, he could not fight it out in the last one.
But the biggest letdown for the Indian fans came when PV Sindhu lost to Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol. The world No. 5 seemed lost during the course of the game and went down the slope by 19-21, 18-21. Having held an impressive 5-1 lead in their head-to-heads till date, Sindhu was expected to take Jindapol in her stride, but she failed to do so in their 49 minute seventh career meeting.
World No. 12 Sameer Verma also bowed out of the competition after suffering a 16-21, 21-7, 13-21 defeat in the second round against Taiwan’s Wang Tzu Wei. In men’s doubles, the Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also exited the tournament conceding defeat to the Chinese pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen by 19-21, 18-21.
With three days remaining for the Grade 5, Super 300 tournament to end, Indian shuttlers have come back with their heads bowed down trying to figure out what went wrong with the team that was considered the toughest to beat six months ago.