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Australian Open 2024: Promising results but victory elusive

No Indian shuttler was able to get past the quarter-finals in the recent Super-500 event.

HS Prannoy Badminton

HS Prannoy lost to Kodai Naraoka in the quarter-finals of 2024 Australian Open. (File photo)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 Jun 2024 9:55 AM GMT

The Australian Open 2024 began on a promising note for several Indians but a series of quarter-final exits meant that a podium finish remained elusive.

Held at the Quaycentre in Sydney, the tournament witnessed a combination of early victories and setbacks for the Indian contingent.

Men's Singles: Quarter-final setbacks

Indian shuttler Abhishek Yeligar started strong by qualifying for the main draw of the Australian Open Super 500.

He defeated Shaswat Dalal and Australian Jie Ying Chan in straight games, securing a spot in the Round of 32. However, he was later defeated by Israel’s Misha Zilberman, who won convincingly with the score of 21-9, 21-15.

Meanwhile, HS Prannoy, India's top men's singles player, displayed formidable performance in the initial rounds.

He defeated Brazil's Ygor Coelho with a 21-10, 23-21 win and later overcame Zilberman 21-17, 21-15 in the second round.

Similarly, Sameer Verma also showed impressive form by defeating Ricky Tang of Australia and then caused a huge upset by beating former world champion Loh Kean Yew in a three-set thriller, 21-14, 14-21, 21-19.

But Kiran George, who had a strong start against Kiaodong Sheng of Canada, winning 21-17, 21-11, could not sustain his momentum and lost to Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 22-20, 21-6 in the next round.

In the quarterfinals, HS Prannoy faced a tough opponent in Japan’s Kodai Naraoka.

And despite a strong start, Prannoy lost 21-19, 21-13 in a match that lasted 61 minutes. Prannoy, who secured a bronze at last year's World Championships, found himself struggling against Naraoka’s speed and precision.

Similarly, Sameer Verma's journey ended in the quarterfinals with a straight-game defeat to Lin Chun-Yi of Chinese Taipei, 21-12, 21-13.

Women's Singles: An uphill task

Aakarshi Kashyap, India’s top women's singles player at the tournament, had a promising start, defeating Polina Buhrova of Ukraine 21-14, 21-11 in the first round. She would continue her winning streak by advancing to the quarterfinals after defeating Kai Qi (Bernice) Teoh 21-16, 21-13.

However, her run ended when she faced third-seeded Pai Yu-Po, losing 21-17, 21-12.

Anupama Upadhyaya also made an impact by winning a thrilling match against Wong Ling Ching of Malaysia 21-14, 23-21.

Malvika Bansod defeated her Indian counterpart Keyura Mopati 21-10, 21-8, while Imad Farooqui Samiya put up a strong fight before losing to third-seeded Pai Yu Po in three sets.

Mixed-Doubles: A tall order

The mixed doubles category saw Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy defeating Tien Ci Wong and Chiew Sien Lim of Malaysia 21-17, 21-19 in the first round.

Ayush Raj Gupta and Sruti Swain, however, were unable to overcome the Australian pair Jordan Yang and Sydney Tjonadi.

Sumeeth and Sikki Reddy advanced to the quarterfinals by winning against Kai Chena Teoh and Kai Qi Teoh 21-11, 21-11.

In the quarterfinals, Sumeeth and Sikki Reddy faced world No. 5 pair Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin from China. The Indian duo was defeated 21-12, 21-14, concluding their Australian Open journey.

What's next

The Australian Open provided a mixture of learning experiences.

Prannoy and Verma's strong performances in the men's singles category offered promise, while Kashyap's run in the women's singles showcased glimpses of potential.

The Indian badminton team will look to build on this momentum at the upcoming US Open BWF Super 300 tournament, starting on June 25.

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