Kiran George stormed into his first-ever quarterfinal at a BWF World Tour Super 500 event but Ashmita Chaliah went down to former Olympic and World Champion Carolina Marin of Spain as India continued to have a mixed day in the Thailand Open here on Thursday.
Kiran George, the Odisha Open 2022 Champion, continued his superb form as he defeated world No. 26 China’s Weng Hong Yang in straight games 21-11, 21-19 in the Round of 16 clash. Kiran George had stunned third seed Shi Yu-Qi of China in the first round on Wednesday.
In the women’s singles, Ashmita went down 21-18, 21-13 to Marin, the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist and a three-time World Champion (2014, 2015, 2018).
In the men’s singles clash, Kiran George took an early lead from 2-2 in the first game to go up 6-3 in the match played on Court 2 at the Indoor Stadium Huamark in the Thai capital.
The Chinese shuttler, however, levelled scores at 8-8. But Kiran George went ahead again 12-9 and went on to win 21-11.
The second game was a neck-and-neck battle in which the 23-year-old Indian ranked 59th in the BWF Rankings, shot off to an early 5-2 lead but his Chinese opponent caught up with him at 5-5. Lead changed hands at regular intervals as the players went up to 17-17. Kiran George went up 19-17 but Wang levelled scores again at 19-19. The Indian shuttler now won the next two points to win the match in 39 minutes and advance to the last eight.
Ashmita put up a good fight in the opening game of her Round of 16 clash with Marin, who surged to a 5-0 lead. Ashmita reduced the margin to 4-5 and then 7-8 as she fought for each point. Marin won the next three points (11-7) and then maintained a slight gap as she went on to extend it to 20-13. Ashmita saved five game points and made it 18-20 before Marin won the game 21-18.
In the second game, Marin won five points in a row from 5-4 to open up the lead and did not give the Indian shuttler many chances as she won the game and match at 21-13.
It is an important day for the Indians in the event as key players including former Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and former World Championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen besides top men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be taking to the court later in the day.
Lakshya will face China’s No.4 seed Li Shi Feng while Sina will meet another Chinese He Bing Jiao, the third seed, in a Round of 16 match.
Top seeds Satwik and Chirag are scheduled to play Indonesia’s Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Maulana Bagas for a place in the quarterfinals.