Badminton

What we realized from two weeks in Thailand

After a sluggish begin on the Yonex Thailand Open, a few of India’s finest badminton gamers put in spectacular shows on the Toyota Thailand Open. Whereas India’s await a World Tour 1000 title continues, there have been some gamers who stood out. Listed below are the marks out of ten (solely gamers who received a minimal of 1 match have been marked):

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy: 9.5

Yonex Thailand Open: Second spherical (males’s doubles), second spherical (combined doubles)

Toyota Thailand Open: Semi remaining (males’s doubles), semi remaining (combined doubles)

At simply 20, Rankireddy grew to become the primary Indian participant in historical past to make the semis in two classes at a World Tour 1000 occasion on the Toyota Thailand Open.

His imposing presence and highly effective smashes from deep have at all times troubled opponents nevertheless it’s his improved defence and better agility on the internet that has seen him grow to be one among India’s finest doubles gamers of all time. Solely Saina Nehwal has made extra Superseries/World Tour 500 and above semis amongst Indians earlier than the age of 20.

Some critics have prompt than Rankireddy could be higher served by giving up combined doubles and simply specializing in males’s doubles however he confirmed that he can obtain vital success within the week passed by.

Chirag Shetty: 9/10

Yonex Thailand Open: Second spherical (males’s doubles)

Toyota Thailand Open: Semi remaining (combined doubles)

Simply India’s most-improved participant over the previous couple of years, Shetty’s perspective and astuteness has at all times made him stand out.

At simply 23, Shetty’s finest years are clearly forward of him. Whereas Rankireddy’s all motion type of play would possibly fetch extra consideration and headlines, Shetty is remarkably stable and barely lets the group down. He is additionally wonderful at controlling the online and his skill to arrange play for Rankireddy makes him the perfect accomplice.

His again court docket play is bettering on a regular basis too and it solely appears a matter of time earlier than he and Rankireddy turn into the primary Indians to win a World Tour 1000 title.

Sameer Verma: 7/10

Yonex Thailand Open: First spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: Quarter remaining

Regardless of a disappointing loss to Shesar Hiren Rhustavito within the opening spherical of the primary match, Sameer was simply India’s finest singles participant over the previous fortnight.

He produced a surprising comeback win over world no. 10 Lee Zil Jia, who has been touted as Lee Chong Wei’s successor in Malaysia, and made world no. Three Anders Antonsen dig actually deep of their quarterfinal match.

Sameer’s method and defence is healthier than most different Indian males’s singles gamers. If he can enhance his assault, he would possibly lastly be capable to crack the highest 10 this yr after having come agonisingly shut prior to now.

Ashwini Ponnappa: 7/10

Yonex Thailand Open: First spherical (girls’s doubles), second spherical (combined doubles)

Toyota Thailand Open: First spherical (girls’s doubles), semi remaining (combined doubles)

Win or lose, over the course of her greater than decade-long profession, Ponnappa has at all times been one among India’s most watchable gamers together with her smashes and again court docket play being a selected standout.

In Rankireddy, she lastly has a accomplice who’s as attacking as her and enhances her sport completely.

They defeated two seasoned, prime 10 pairs over the previous two weeks and in addition gave a extremely robust time to the world no. Three and top-seeded pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

Ponnappa would nevertheless be disenchanted together with her girls’s doubles as she didn’t win a sport in any of the 2 matches she performed.

Kidambi Srikanth: 5/10

Yonex Thailand Open: Second spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: Second spherical

It was pity that Srikanth could not play his second-round matches in any of the 2 tournaments as he utterly outmuscled and outclassed each the primary spherical opponents he confronted: Sourabh Verma and Sitthikom Thammasin.

He withdrew from the primary match owing to a calf damage and was pressured to withdraw from the second after his roommate B Sai Praneeth examined optimistic for coronavirus.

Srikanth did not drop a sport within the two matches he received and did not appear like the participant who has needed to battle with an assortment of kind, confidence and injury-related points the final two years.

His second-round opponents have been Lee and Antonsen, and people matches would have been an correct indicator of whether or not Srikanth is actually again to his finest. Fortunately, he’ll be in motion on the World Tour Last this week and we’ll have a clearer image by this time subsequent week.

PV Sindhu: 4/10

Yonex Thailand Open: First spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: Quarterfinal

Having chosen to coach away from the nationwide camp in England, Sindhu had already attracted loads of consideration earlier than stepping on the court docket in Thailand. She was simply the largest disappointment from the Indian contingent and her lack of combat within the quarterfinal loss to Ratchanok Intanon was significantly galling.

Sindhu’s show in that match was harking back to her play earlier than 2016, the place she might be irresistible on her good days however rank disappointing on the dangerous ones. Not like most others although, she can have an opportunity to atone for that disappointment on the BWF World Tour Finals later this week.

Of the six seeded gamers within the girls’s singles attract each the tournaments, Sindhu was the one one who didn’t make the final eight within the first leg. She additionally didn’t beat the one prime 10 ranked opponent she confronted and that may be a underneath par return for the reigning world champion.

HS Prannoy: 4/10

Yonex Thailand Open: First spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: Second spherical

It was a case of déjà vu for the big-hitting Prannoy as he pulled off a trademark upset in opposition to one of many title favourites earlier than dropping to a lower-ranked opponent within the subsequent spherical, in what has been a frustratingly recurrent theme in his profession.

Prannoy pushed the prodigiously gifted Lee exhausting earlier than fading within the deciding sport, an consequence that might be put all the way down to rust, earlier than gorgeous Jonatan Christie within the first spherical after saving a number of match factors.

We did not study something new this week. Prannoy might be too scorching to deal with for even the very best on the planet on his day, however till he begins placing collectively a string of wins and learns to be extra ruthless, he’ll need to be pleased with simply gorgeous upsets that find yourself benefiting the opposite gamers within the uncooked greater than him.

MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila: 4/10

Yonex Thailand Open: First spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: Second spherical

Arjun and Kapila are nonetheless within the early stage of their partnership. The 2 teamed up after Arjun’s long-time accomplice Shlok Ramchandran retired in 2019 however these have been solely their second and third tournaments collectively respectively. They confirmed sufficient promise as a pair and are undoubtedly ones to keep watch over over the remainder of the yr.

Saina Nehwal: 3/10

Yonex Thailand Open: Second spherical

Toyota Thailand Open: First spherical

Going through Ratchanok Intanon within the first spherical on house territory is among the extra daunting prospects in badminton, however for a participant who has at all times set remarkably excessive requirements, Saina could be disenchanted with the margin of loss (17-21, 8-21). This was, afterall, a participant who she has an overwhelmingly optimistic profession head-to-head in opposition to.

Nonetheless, the loss that will harm Saina is the one in opposition to Busanan Ongbamrungphan within the second spherical. Along with her half of the draw blown vast open by pullouts and upsets, Saina had the chance to make a deep run.

Ongbamrungphan is a stable participant however she’s the type of trustworthy trier who Saina misplaced very hardly ever to within the decade the place she was at her prime. It’s losses like these that make it clear that we would need to make peace with the truth that Saina’s finest years are in all probability behind her.

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