Singapore Open: Manjunath stuns Srikanth, Sindhu advances

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

India's Mithun Manjunath recorded a stunning win over compatriot and World championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth to join two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu in the second round of the Singapore Open Super 500 tournament here on Wednesday.

Manjunath, who had reached the finals of Orleans Masters Super 100 in April this year, beat world No. 11 Srikanth 21-17, 15-21, 21-18 in the opening round contest which lasted an hour.

The world No. 77 Indian, a product of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, will next take on Ireland's Nhat Nguyen.

Earlier, Sindhu cruised to a 21-15, 21-11 victory over Belgium world No. 36 Lianne Tan in women's singles. The former World champion will next face Vietnam's Thuy Linh Nguyen.

Manjunath, 24, came out all guns blazing as he dominated the opening game after taking an early 6-2 lead. He kept Srikanth at bay to comfortably seal the opening game.

Srikanth turned the tables after the change of sides as he enjoyed an 11-8 cushion at the break and rode the momentum to take the second game.

The decider turned into a roller-coaster ride with the two slugging it out but it was Manjunath who showed better control as he ensured a slender one-point advantage at the breather.

Srikanth managed to take a 16-15 lead at one stage but Manjunath didn't let the opportunity slip and reeled off the last three points from 18-18 to notch up one of the biggest wins of his international career.

Manjunath has been in fine fettle - he reached his maiden Super-100 final at Orleans Masters in France last April and won four All-India ranking titles, including the Senior Ranking Badminton tournament, in December last year.

He had contracted COVID-19 earlier this year and had to withdraw from India Open Super 500 in January. He, however, was part of the Indian team for the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia after a semi-final finish at Syed Modi International and a quarterfinal appearance at the Odisha Super 100.

In the women's singles match, Sindhu took time to get off the block, lagging 1-4 but pulled away from 7-7 to pocket the opening game.

She got off to a strong start in the second game with a 5-1 lead. A three-point burst helped Tan to narrow the lead but a relentless Sindhu stepped up her game to wrap up the win.