Huelva (Spain), :In a historic first, India were assured of at least two medals in the men’s singles competition of the ongoing BWF World Badminton Championships after the seasoned Kidambi Srikanth and young Lakshya Sen entered their maiden semifinals of the marque event here on Friday.
However, it was disappointment for defending champion PV Sindhu, who lost to familiar foe Tai Tzu Ying in the women’s singles quarterfinals. India are assured of at least a silver as Srikanth and Sen will face each other in the first semifinal on Saturday.
It turned out to be a historic day for Indian badminton as first Srikanth, seeded 12th in the showpiece tournament, sent Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands packing with a 21-8 21-7 win in a match that lasted just 26 minutes.
And then the unseeded Sen fought his heart out to get the better of China’s Jun Peng Zhao 21-15 15-21 22-20 in an enthralling three-game encounter lasting one hour and seven minutes. The two will join the legendary Prakash Padukone (bronze in 1983) and B Sai Praneeth (bronze in 2019) as the Indian medal winners at the showpiece.
Sindhu, who lost her quarterfinal match against Tai Tzu, has won five medals in the showpiece while Saina Nehwal has two medals to her name. The women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had also won a bronze in 2011. The world number 14 Srikanth was ahead 11-5 at the first game’s change of ends and from 14-8, he took seven straight points to pocket it in a jiffy.
The second game was no different as Srikanth completely outplayed his opponent. From 4-3, it was Srikanth all the way as he zoomed to another seven straight points. From 17-7, Sriknath pocketed another four points on the trot to win the match. In the women’s singles, Sindhu suffered a straight-game defeat to world number one Tai Tzu of Chinese Taipei to bow out of the championships. The top-seeded Tai Tzu beat Sindhu 21-17 21-13 in an energy-sapping match that lasted 42 minutes. Sindhu found it difficult to match Tai Tzu’s speed, court coverage and drop shots as has been the case many times earlier though the Indian produced some fine cross-court smashes.