India's men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Thursday stunned sixth seed Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe of Japan to enter the quarterfinals of the China Open in Fuzhou. Rankireddy and Shetty played their hearts out to get the better of their Japanese opponents 21-18 21-23 21-11 in a pulsating second round contest that lasted an hour and six minutes. For Rankireddy and Shetty, who had reached the French Open final last month, the latest win is their second straight over Endo and Watanabe. The Indians had defeated the Japanese duo in straight games in Paris last month. Rankireddy and Shetty will face Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Rankireddy and Shetty were the lone Indians left in the tournament after the others bite the dust on Thursday. Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth were both ousted in the second round of the men's singles event. World No. 11 Praneeth fought hard for one hour 24 minutes against fourth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark before going down 20-22 22-20 21-16. Kashyap, ranked 25 in the world, ran out of steam after a decent start against seventh seed Victor Axelsen and went down 13-21 19-21 in a match that lasted 43 minutes. Praneeth's loss marked the end of India's campaign in the singles.
This is the second time Kashyap had lost to Axelsen this year. The former Commonwealth Games champion, who reached the semifinals of India Open and Korea Open earlier this year, had lost to the world number six at the India Open in March. It was also the end of the road for the mixed doubles pair of Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa. The unseeded Indian duo lost 21-23 16-21 to fifth seeds Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of South Korea.