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Thailand Open: Saina, Sai Praneeth advance to semis

Thailand Open: Saina, Sai Praneeth advance to semis

Title contenders Saina Nehwal and B. Sai Praneeth advanced to the quarter-finals of the $1,20,000 Thailand Open badminton tournament after notching up straight-game victories in the women's and men's singles competition respectively here on Thursday.

Ongbumrungpan defeated Nehwal 21-19, 21-18. On the other hand, Singapore Open champion Praneeth had an easy outing, thrashing lower-ranked Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen in straight games 21-16, 21-17 in less than an hour to sail into the semi-finals.

London Olympic bronze medallist and second seed Saina, however, bit the dust, 19-21, 18-21 to Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan in 53 minutes. Thongnuam tried to attack in the second game but it made no effect on Sai as he was smart enough to mix his shots.

The World No.24 Indian had quite smooth first game against his Thai opponent. Sai Praneeth, though, was determined to not take the match into the decider and found legs to clinch the next seven points and take a 10-3 lead.




Saina starts the tie as favourite, given her vast experience of playing in the knockout stages of big tournaments.

Both players have met thrice in the past, and the ace Indian shuttler has won all of those matches.

Third seed Praneeth scored a comfortable 21-11, 21-15 win over Pannawit Thongnuam of Thailand in the men's singles last-four clash that lasted 36 minutes. Saina wrote on her twitter handle after the win.

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