Orleans (France), India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy on Friday reached the semi-finals of the Orleans Masters Super 100 badminton tournament. The eighth seeded pair beat England’s third seeds Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith 21-14, 21-18 in 42 minutes.
They will now face Thai top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Ashwini and Sikki raced to a 4-0 lead in the first game before their opponents scored four consecutive points to level the scores. The two teams then went toe-to-toe until the score was eighth-all, after which Ashwini and Sikki won four consecutive points to lead 12-8. There was no turning back for the Indians after that as they maintained their dominance and took the game 21-14.
The second game was a far closer affair with the score at the interval reading 11-9 in the Indians’ favour. Ashwini and Sikki won another point after the restart after which Birch and Smith won three consecutive points to make it 12-12. The two teams exchanged points after that until Ashwini and Sikki managed to take a two-point lead at 17-15. They maintained that position, and eventually took the second game 21-18.
The other Indian pair, Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala, beat France’s Christo Popov and Toma Junior Popov 21-17, 10-21, 22-20 in an hour and three minutes.
In the semi-finals, they now face England’s Callum Hemming and Steve Stallwood, who beat Indian seventh seeds M.R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Later on Friday, Indian top seed Kidambi Srikanth plays his men’s singles semi-final match against Frenchman Toma Junior Popov while fourth seed Saina Nehwal plays USA’s Iris Wang in the women’s singles quarter-finals.