2016 , is the OLYMPIC year . With only 4 months in hand to get an automatic qualification spot for the Olympics, the chase is getting hotter. Syed Modi International GP is the second GP Gold tournament of the calendar year, where a victory could edge you closer to that coveted spot. So what happened when players got firing in the BBD Academy in Lucknow?
Mixed Doubles :
The top seeds from Korea KO and Kim had to withdraw their entry from the tournament due to an injury suffered to Kim Ha Na. It was an easy sail for the second seeds Susanto and Jordan from Indonesia, who reached the Semis without dropping a single game. The third seeds Shin and Chae from Korea also reached the Semis, to set up a mouth watering encounter with the second seeds.
The upper half of the draw witnessed a lot surprises. Leading the way were the Japanese duo of Kazuno and Kurihara, as they reached the Semis, having defeated the fourth seeded pairing of Choi and Eom from Korea in the second round. They’ll face the pairing of Taerattanachai and Dechapol in the Semis.
Women’s Doubles :
The upper half saw the first seeds from Korea, Chang and Lee, qualify for the Semis without dropping any game. Their Semi Final opponents too had an easy sail, as they won all their matches in 2 straight games, living upto their 3rd seeding . It was a tournament to forget for the experienced Indian duo of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant, who bowed out in the second round.
The bottom half, was filled with Indian entrants , with the CWG Gold medalists Ashwini and Jwala making the Semis and boosting their chances of Olympic qualification. Their opponents and second seeds from Korea, Jung and Shin continued their impressive performance after a successful last year.
All the four pairs qualified for the Semis without dropping a single game.
Men’s Doubles :
The upper half of the draw was dominated by the Danish pairing of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen , who are looking to grab a second Olympic medal by getting an automatic spot for the Rio Olympics. Their opponents, the Malaysian pairing of Goh and Tan caused an upset in the Quarters when they defeated the current European Champions from Russia Vladmir and Sozonov in 2 straight games 21-15 21-16.
The bottom half , saw the unseeded Indian pairing of Pranav and Akshay defeat the Danish pairing of third seeds Kolding and Conrads in the Quarter Final, in three tough games 22-20 11-21 23-21. Their opponents, the Asian Games Gold Medalists from Korea Kim and Kim , did justice to their their 2nd seeding and qualified for SF.
Women’s Singles :
Saina Nehwal had to withdraw from the tournament due to a recurring ankle strain which she had suffered last year. It was a tournament to forget for P. V. Sindhu, as she failed to build on an impressive set of performances she had achieved over the past 3 months. She lost to 24 year old Jindapol from Thailand 18-21 26-24 21-17. Jindapol put in a great performance to set up a SF encounter with the second seed Sung Ji Hyun from Korea
In the upper half, former Indian Open Super Series winner Porntip Buranaprasertsuk from Thailand made it into the Semis, in an attempt to resurrect her career. Her opponent, fifth seeded Japanese Sayaka Sato , made the cut without dropping any game.
Men’s Singles :
In the Upper half of the draw, K Srikanth got his revenge against Iskander (Malaysia), for his defeat in the Semis of the Malaysian Open GP last week. Srikanth crushed Iskander in two straight games 21-9 21-12 in the QFs. His opponent, veteran Boonsak Ponsana (11th seed) also made it through when he defeated Shreyansh Jaiswal, a young Indian player 21-10 21-18 in the QFs.
Harshil Dani was the story of the tournament. The 19 year old , showed glimpses of his immense potential , when he reached the Quarters , after having defeated Sai Praneeth in the 2nd round 14-21 21-17 21-16, and taking down 7th seeded Korean, Lee Dong in the 3rd round 21-15 21-10. Unseeded Chinese, Shi Yuqi ended his amazing run in the QF. He is surely one to watch out for in the future. P. Kashyap suffered another setback in his attempt to participate in his second Olympics, when he lost to Huang (China) 21-18 16-21 21-15.
The SEMI FINALS day promises a lot of excitement and great matches. There are many Indians to look out for, but the underdog pairing of Akshay and Pranav are the highlight of the tournament so far. Every Indian fan is hoping that K. Srikanth could outdo his last week’s performance and reach the Finals. Lets hope the Indian contingent lives upto the expectations and fly high!!