PV Sindhu saved the blushes for India with a 21-16, 23-21 victory against Busanan Ongamrungphan of Thailand to sail into the semifinals of the Swiss Open BWF Super-300 tournament in Basel.
Earlier on Friday, Sai Praneeth, Ajay Jayaram and the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa were knocked out of the tournament.
In the quarterfinals, fifth seed Sai lost to second seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 14-21, 17-21, Jayaram stumbled against eighth seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand 9-21, 6-21 and Satwik-Ashwini worked hard before losing to fifth seeds Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia 17-21, 21-16, 18-21.
The Indian mixed doubles pair rallied after losing the first game to win the second. However, they ran out of gas in the third. From 11-11, the Malaysians widened the margin to 116-11 with a five-point burst. Though the Indians reduced the gap to 16-17, Kian-Pei scored another three points at this crucial stage to move to the match point.
Sindhu, meanwhile, did not look comfortable against Busanan as the Thai played well and stretched the Indian in the second game.
In the semifinals on Saturday, the world champion will face fourth seed Mia Blichfeldt. The Dane stopped the brilliant run of Phittayaporn Chaiwan of Thailand 21-10, 21-7.
Though Sindhu enjoys a 3-1 win-loss record against the world No.12, the Dane shocked the Indian in the first round of the Thailand Open in January. From the top half of the draw, top seed Carolina Marin of Spain reached the last four stages.
Indian results (QFs; Men’s singles): 2-Lee Zii Jia (Mas) bt 5-Sai Praneeth 21-14, 21-17; 8-Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Ajay Jayaram 21-9, 21-6.
Women’s singles: 2-PV Sindhu bt 5-Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha) 21-15, 23-21
Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing (Mas) bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa 21-17, 16-21, 21-18.