Lucknow, Jan 24: Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and K. Srikanth reached the semi-finals of the $120,000 India Grand Prix Gold at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here Friday.
Though the top two seeds of women’s singles Saina and Sindhu scored straight-game victories, Srikanth had to fight it out against 11th seeded B. Sai Praneeth to win the men’s singles tie 21-18, 20-22, 21-12 in a match lasting an hour and 12 minutes.
With the top four seeds knocked out, Srikanth was the highest seed in action and survived a scare from Sai. The reigning national champion will take on another compatriot, seventh seeded H.S. Prannoy for a place in the final.
On the other hand, Youth Olympics silver medallist Prannoy packed off Malaysian 12th seed Zulfadli Zulkiffli, who upset top seed and defending champion Parupalli Kashyap Thursday. Prannoy reached his first Grand Prix semi-final using effective bodyline smashes to beat the Malaysian 21-19, 21-14 in 47 minutes.
In the other last-eight clash, World No.439 Aditya Prakash caused a huge upset by getting the better of Malaysian 13th seed Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 21-19, 18-21, 21-16 in an hour and 12 minutes and will next take on Chinese ninth-seed Xeu Song, who needed 50 minutes to end the run of India’s Subhankar Dey 21-18, 21-15.
Earlier, last year’s runner-up Sindhu beat Indonesian seventh seed Hera Desi 21-11, 21-13 in 34 minutes to take a 2-0 lead in career meetings. The World No.11 faces a tricky semi-final when she takes on defending champion and Indonesian fourth seed Lindaweni Fanetri, who ousted India’s Arundhati Pantawane 21-10, 21-7 in 36 minutes.
Though Sindhu has a 3-2 head-to-head against Lindaweni, last year’s final could play on her mind.
In the last match of the day, World No.9 Saina defeated Indonesia’s Bellaetrix Manuputty for the fourth time in as many matches to proceed to the semis. The top-seed needed 45 minutes to oust the fifth-seed 21-15, 21-15 and will next take on Chinese sixth seed Xeng Duan for the first time.
Meanwhile, Thai women’s doubles pair Phataimas Muenwong and Kilasu Ostermeyer made short work of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. The Thai girls took just 31 minutes to win 21-14, 21-11 as the Indian combine delivered a lacklustre performance.