Badminton: Satwiksairaj, Ashwini Ponnappa cruise to quarter-finals of Dutch Open

The Indian duo beat Denmark’s Kristoffer Knudsen and Isabella Nielsen of Denmark 21-12, 21-18.

India’s lone bright spot of Thursday in the Dutch Open came through mixed doubles Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, who beat Kristoffer Knudsen and Isabella Nielsen of Denmark in straight games to sail into the mixed doubles quarter-finals at Almere. The Indian pair took just 32 minutes to get the better of Knudsen and Nielsen 21-12, 21-18 in the second round clash.

Subhankar Dey couldn’t cash in on an early advantage in a gruelling 68-minute contest against fifth seeded Dane Emil Holst in the men’s singles event. The Indian lost 21-14, 20-22, 11-21. After easing to a win in the first game, Holst mounted a stirring fightback, winning the second game in a tie-breaker and routing his opponent by a 10-point margin in the third.

India’s beeline to the exit door kick-started with women’s doubles pair Arathi Sara Sunil and Maneesha K losing to Indonesia’s top seeds, Anggia Shitta Awanda and Ni Ketut Istarani 21-16, 21-11 in 37 minutes. The Indian duo took the fight to their opponents in fits and starts in the first game. However, they ran out of steam in the second.

Men’s doubles pair Manu Atri and B Sumeeth Reddy also bowed out of the tournament, losing to locals Jele Maas and Robin Tabeling 13-21, 20-22 in another 37-minute encounter. The experienced Atri-Reddy duo took the second game to the tie-breaker after getting drubbed in the first.

Fortunes continue to worsen for the Indian contingent as men’s doubles pair, Satwik and Chirag Shetty, getting knocked out of the tournament. They lost to the Chinese Taipei pairing of Liao Min Chun and Chen Heng Su 21-17, 21-14. The contest lasted for 35 minutes. Satwik and Shetty were unable to replicate the grit they showed in the first game and went out in straight games.

Satwik and Ponnappa will now play Ireland’s Scott Evans and Amanda Hogstrom of Sweden in the last eight round. The Irish-Swede combination defeated German pair of Jones Ralfy Jansen and Eva Janssens 21-11, 17-21, 21-18 in their second round match.

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