HONG KONG :
TOP Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the men’s singles second round without playing a shot after his opponent Kento Momota’s pull-out while Sourabh Verma entered the main draw of the Hong Kong Open after clinching straight-game wins in his two qualifying clashes on Tuesday. Srikanth was to play against Momota in the first round on Wednesday but the Japanese world number one pulled out of the tournament on Tuesday. The reasons for his withdrawal were not known. A few days back, the 24-year-old Momota had beaten Taiwan’s world number two Chou Tien-chen to claim his 10th title of the year at the Fuzhou China Open.
World number 10 Srikanth will now face either compatriot Sourabh or Frenchman Brice Leverdez, who will clash in the second round on Wednesday, to reach the quarter-final. Sourabh, seeded fourth in the qualifiers, first defeated Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-15, 21-19 before getting the better of Lucas Claerbout of France 21-19, 21-19 in the final qualifying round. In the mixed doubles, the Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa rallied from a game down to beat the Thailand duo of Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Savitree Amitrapai 16-21, 21-19, 21-17 in a 55-minute match and advance to the second round.
But in another mixed doubles first round match, the Indian duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 10-21, 18-21 to the third seeded Thai pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai to bow out of the tournament. The other Indians featuring in the men’s singles main event will start on Wednesday. B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap are those in fray in the competition. Sai Praneeth in top 10, Srikanth slips to 13th in BWF rankings: INDIAN shuttler B Sai Praneeth jumped one spot to 10th while Kidambi Srikanth slipped thee places to be at 13th in the latest BWF rankings issued on Tuesday.
Sai Praneeth, who had won bronze at the World Championships in August, moved to top 10 while Srikanth, who was at 10th in the previous week, dropped out of the top bracket. Sameer Verma also moved up one place to be at 16th in the men’s singles rankings headed by Japanese Kento Momota. In the women’s singles rankings, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal remained unchanged at sixth and ninth respectively. In the men’s doubles, the pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty rose two places to be at seventh. The Indian duo have been in fine form in recent months, reaching the final of the French Open in October and the semi-final of the China Open recently.