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Praneeth, Kashyap enter India Open quarterfinals

 NEW DELHI, March 28: India’s B Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the quarterfinals of the India Open badminton tournament after contrasting wins in the men’s singles competition here Thursday.

 Praneeth, who had reached the finals at Swiss Open early this month, eked out a thrilling come-from-behind 18-21 21-16, 21-15 win over fifth seeded compatriot Sameer Verma.

Kashyap, a 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, dished out a superb game to get rid of Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-11, 21-13 in the pre-quarterfinal contest. While Praneeth will face either compatriot Kidambi Srikanth, a former champion, or China’s Lu Guangzu, while Kashyap takes on the winner of the match between Subhankar Dey and Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei. Riya Mookerjee too showed the stomach to fight before going down 8-21, 21-17, 13-21 to eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.

The women’s doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP edged out Hong Kong duo of Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting 21-19, 7-21, 21-17, while the men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma beat compatriots Aniruddha Mayekar and Vinay Kumar Singh 21-15, 21-11 in the other match.

Gopichand Academy colleagues, Praneeth and Sameer have played against each other five times in the past in the international circuit. Though Praneeth has a 3-2 head-to-head record, he has lost few times to Sameer in domestic events.

“We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, so with nobody outside the court to tell you something about strategies, you have to think on your own,” Praneeth said.

“I think with him, the mental block would never go away. If he wins, it would be good for the next rounds but here even the next round has Srikanth, so the confidence after winning also is not of much importance.” Praneeth said he is exhausted after playing continuously since Premier Badminton League (PBL).

“I think I have been playing continuous tournaments. I have not trained continuously for even one week since the PBL, so I am tired.” – PTI

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