BWF World Championships: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy sail into quarterfinals

Kidambi Srikanth overcame Guang Zu Lu of China to reach the quarterfinals of the 2021 BWF World Championships. Zhang Cheng/Xinhua via Getty Images

Defending champion PV Sindhu, and Kidambi Srikanth stormed into the quarterfinals of the BWF World Championships with straight-game wins in their respective singles round of 16 matches in Huelva on Thursday.

They were joined in the last eight by Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy. Lakshya and Prannoy progressed in contrasting fashion. While Lakshya registered a straighforward 21-13, 21-8 win against veteran Kevin Cordon, a surprise semifinalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Prannoy had to dig deep to upset 11th seed Rasmus Gemke, eventually prevailing 16-21, 21-8, 22-20 after a very tight deciding game.

This was Prannoy's first win against Gemke in their third career meeting. Both Prannoy and Lakshya face unseeded opponents next. While Lakshya will take on China's Zhao Jun Peng, Prannoy will face Singapore's Loh Kean Yew, who defeated Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the opening round here.

At just 20, Lakshya is the youngest Indian ever to reach the men's singles quarterfinals at the prestigious tournament. The only other Indians to make the last eight at a younger age at the tournament are Saina Nehwal and Sindhu, both of whom achieved the feat as teenagers.

World number 7 Sindhu defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand, ranked three places below her, 21-14 21-18 in the pre-quarterfinal match which lasted 48 minutes. Sindhu, seeded sixth in the showpiece tournament, had earlier lost twice to Chochuwong in the lead up to the tournament.

Double Olympic medalist Sindhu faces top seed and world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei next, who beat Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland 21-10 19-21 21-11, in the quarterfinals.

In the men's singles, 12th seed Srikanth outplayed unseeded Guang Zu Lu of China 21-10, 21-15 to enter the last eight.

However, the Indian contingent suffered defeats in both the women's and men's doubles in the pre-quarterfinals.

The women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 13-21 15-21 to the Thai duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered a 20-22 21-18 15-21 defeat to Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia.

Sindhu took an early 5-1 lead but Chochuwong rallied to narrow the gap to 5-4 and then to 10-9. She zoomed ahead from there on as she made it 15-10 and then 19-11 to pocket the first game.

The second game was a tighter affair, even if Sindhu began on the front foot with a 3-0 lead. Sindhu led 11-6 at the change of ends and the second half saw some long rallies with the Thai player winning a few of them. Sindhu was leading 16-10 but Chochuwong made a comeback of sort as she reduced the gap to 18-15 and then to 19-18.

Sindhu won a crucial point after a long rally to make it 20-18 before winning the second game and the match. Sindhu, who got a first round bye, had beaten Slovakia's Martina Repiska 21-7 21-9 in the second round on Tuesday.