China Open: Satwiksairaj, Chirag enter quarterfinals, end of the road for other Indians

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, left, and Chirag Shetty continued their good run as they entered the quarterfinals. File photo: AFP
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Fuzhou (China): The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their good run as they entered the quarterfinals of the ongoing China Open badminton on Thursday.

In an intense second-round clash that lasted 66 minutes, the Indian duo held their nerve to defeat the Japanese pair of Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe 21-18, 21-23, 21-11 at the Haixia Olympics Sports Center.

This is the second straight win for the Indian duo over Endo-Watanabe after they had defeated the pair from Japan in straight games at the French Open last month.

The will now face Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China on Friday for a place in the semifinals. The young Indian pair has been on the rise this year and have been raking up wins consistently against the top seeds in the world.

They had reached the French Open final last month, where they lost to world No.1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo. Before that, they had clinched their maiden Super 500 title at the Thailand Open in August.

Satwiksairaj and Chirag carry the Indian hopes after both B Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap bowed out of the competition after losing their respective second-round matches in the men's singles event.

Kashyap lost to Victor Axelsen of Denmark while Praneeth went down fighting to Anders Antonsen to bring the curtains down to India's run in the singles event.

Praneeth fought hard for one hour 24 minutes against fourth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark. The world No. 11 Indian went down 20-22, 22-20, 21-16.

Earlier Kashyap, ranked 25 in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against seventh seed Axelsen and went down 13-21, 19-21 in a match that lasted 43 minutes.

Satwiksairaj and Ashwini Ponnappa lost their mixed doubles second-round match to Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of Korea 21-23, 16-21.

With Kidambi Srikanth pulling out of the tournament, India's campaign had got off to a horror start as H S Prannoy and Sameer Verma faced first-round exits on Tuesday.

India's challenge in women's singles was already over after P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal both lost their first round matches.

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