Saina crashes out of Australia Open quarters

Meanwhile, India's campaign in the women's singles category in the event ended after defending champion Saina Nehwal and shuttler PV Sindhu crashed out of quarter-finals in Sydney.

After losing the first game, the 24-year-old Indian rebounded strongly to clinch a 15-21, 21-13, 21-13 win over Wan Ho in a gruelling second-round clash that lasted nearly an hour. Praneeth narrowed the gap to 12-13, before Srikanth zoomed ahead to seal the match.

It was a closely-fought encounter, as the two players, who know all about each other's game, went full tilt into the match.

Srikanth, on his part, has not been unduly stretched in his last two matches; and has lost only a solitary game in the four rounds he has played at this Australia Open - to South Korea's top-seeded Son Wan Ho in the second round.

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The second game followed a similar pattern, with Srikanth leading 4-2, before Shi attempted a turn-around by winning three consecutive points - the highlight being a brilliant crosscourt shot that went beyond the net by inches - to take a lead at 5-4. You just have to be patient.

Bruised and battered after their shocking ouster from the title race, an inconsistent India would look for solace when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a 5th-8th classification match of the Hockey World League Semi-Final on Saturday.

Talking about his fine run of form, the Indian, who entered his third straight Superseries semi-final, said: "It's going great so far, not really thinking too much". However, he could not hold the higher ranked player as Kidambi extended his lead to 11-9 at the break of the second game. Although Yuqi won the next three points on offer, Srikanth nullified his opponent's courageous attempt to make it 19-13 in his favour and with a smash, he scampered his way to the final. But like the first game, Srikanth upped the ante and streaked to 15-8 lead.


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