Japan Open: Pranaav-Sikki knocked out; Indian challenge ends

Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Chopra (Image credit: www.prayukti.net)

Tokyo: India’s top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy crashed out of the USD $325, 000 Japan Open Superseries after  losing 21-14, 15-21, 19-21 to the Japanese duo of Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hirota in the semi-finals on Saturday. Their loss also sadly ended the Indian campaign in the tournament.

Playing their first ever Super Series semi-final the Indian pair got into the act quickly taking a first 5-3 lead and then a 15-10 lead to eventually win the first set 21-14 and take an early lead.

However, the second set belonged to the pair of Hoki-Hirota as they completely dominated the proceedings to win the set 14-21. Pranaav and Sikki tried but to no avail as the gap of 10-15 was too much for them to stage a comeback.

With both side tied at 1-1 after two sets, the decider and third set saw both the teams go hand on hand, with both team tied at 9-9 at one satge. But the the Japanese pair raced through to take four points on the trot to make it 9-13. The Indians came very close to equalising, making it 18-19. But, they miscued the next two shots to give away two valuable match points, as Hoki-Hirota sailed through to the finals of the Japan Open.

Pranaav and N Sikki Reddy who had previously won the Syed Modi International Badminton Championship earlier this year, could not a achieve a maiden Super Series title.

The Indian pair also in the process became only the third Indian mixed pair to reach the semi-finals of the Japan Open. The previous two occasions were at the 2009 BWF Super Series Masters Finals and the 2011 China Masters Super Series. Jwala Gutta and V Diju were the partners on both the occasions.

Interestingly Pranaav-Reddy were the only Indian pair to make  it to the semi-finals of the Japan. Popular shuttlers such as PV Sindhu, Saina, Srikanth, Prannoy, Kashyap none could reach that far and bowed out much earlier.

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