Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth stood just one step away from grabbing a medal each at the World Badminton Championship after entering the quarterfinals of the singles events here today. Sindhu, who twice won a bronze medal at the 2013 and 2014 editions, survived a scare against Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi before prevailing 19-21 23-21 21-17 in a thrilling women's singles match that lasted an hour and 27 minutes. The 22-year-old Indian fought back from 13-16 down in the second game after losing the first to eventually come up trumps. She will face fifth seed Sun Yu of China next. Srikanth, however, eased into the quarterfinals with yet another straight-game win over Denmark's Anders Antonsen in men's singles. On a 12-match winning streak, Srikanth knocked out World No. 18 Antonsen 21-14 21-18. The World No. 10 Indian will clash with top seed and World No. 1 Korean Son Wan Ho in the quarterfinals. "It was a good game today. There were some intense rallies and I am happy for the win," Srikanth told PTI. Srikanth, who finished at the pre-quarterfinals in the last two editions, has a 4-4 head-to-head record against Son, whom he has beaten twice this year en route to his titles at Indonesia and Australia in June.
"It will be a tough match but I have been improving with each match and looking forward for a good game tomorrow," Srikanth added. India's top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy, seeded 15th, played their heart out before going down 22-20 18-21 18-21 to Indonesian World Number 6 duo of Debby Susanto and Praveen Jordan. Srikanth and Antonsen split the initial six points before the Indian surged ahead with a five-point burst to grab a 11-8 lead at the break. The Denmark shuttler reduced the gap to 11-13 but Srikanth changed gears to produce another five-point burst to zoom ahead. The Indian eventually closed out the opening game without much ado. Nothing much changed in the second game as Srikanth took a 11-3 lead but Anders came back strongly to reel off six points on the trot to reduce the margin to 9-11. However, Srikanth continued to move ahead to open up a 20-15 lead. Antonsen saved three matches points before the Indian sealed the issue in his favour. Despite coming into the women's singles match with a 3-0 head-to-head record, Sindhu found the going tough against her World No. 17 opponent, who held a slender 11-9 lead at the break. After the interval, Sindhu clawed back with two points but the duel between the two became more fierce as they moved neck and neck till 19-19 when the Hong Kong girl moved ahead to earn the bragging rights. Jolted by the first game reversal, Sindhu opened up a 4-0 lead but Cheung drew parity at 9-9 before grabbing an 11-10 advantage at the interval. The Hong Kong girl then moved to a 16-13 lead. Sindhu, however, turned the tables at 17-16 and had three game point at 20-17. Cheung accumulated three points and was tied 21-21 when the Indian marched ahead to bounce back into the contest. In the decider, Sindhu moved to a 11-6 lead early on but Cheung once again caught up with the Indian at 12-12. Sindhu then distanced herself, reaching 15-12 before comfortably grabbing five match points at 20-15. Cheung saved two match points before the Indian shut the door on her rival. Yesterday, Ajay Jayaram disposed off Netherland's Mark Caljouw in straight games to advance to the pre-quarterfinals but it was curtains for Sameer Verma and Rituparna Das at the World Championship. Jayaram, seeded 13th, produced another clinical show to get past world No. 50 Caljouw 21-13 21-18 in a 33-minute men's singles match. The world No. 17 Indian will take on two-time defending champion Chinese Chen Long, seeded fifth, next. However, it was curtains for Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold winner Sameer, who suffered a 20-22 9-21 loss to 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph, seeded 16th, in another men's singles match. National champion Rituparna too was hardly a match for local favourite Kirsty Gilmour, seeded 16th, as she went down 16-21 13-21 in a 42-minute clash. The women's doubles pair of Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil also bowed out with a 14-21 15-21 loss to 14th seeded Chinese combination of Bao Yixin and Yu Xiaohan.