As the month of March reached its end, the beginning of Indian Open Super Series 2017 made the Badminton world turn its focus at the Siri Fort Complex, New Delhi. It was officially completing a decade as a BWF event and eighth as a Super Series event. The shuttlers were battling it out for a total prize money of $350,000.
As the top two seeds (Lee Chong Wei and Jan O Jorgensen) withdrew, it was Viktor Axelsen of Denmark who led the draw in the men’s singles. In the first round, much to the delight of the home fans, Sameer Verma created a huge upset as he defeated the fourth seed, Son Wan-ho in straight sets. With four out of the six Indians reaching the second round, hopes from the shuttlers increased but all but one was able to overcome the hurdle as the giant killer, Sameer Verma being the lone shuttler from the host nation to reach the quarter finals. The last eight clashes saw the third, fifth and sixth seed qualify for the semi finals, joining them was a teen Dane, Anders Antonsen. Both the semi finals were one sided contests as Chou T C defeated Antonsen whereas Axelsen got the better of Ng K L to reach his third consecutive Indian Open final. The summit clash saw a pure dominance by the third seeded Viktor Axelsen as he finally lifted the trophy in three attempts after defeating the sixth seed, Chou Tien-chen 21-13, 21-10.
As soon as the draw was out, the crowd got waiting for the epic encounter between the two leading ladies of the host nation, Saina Nehwal and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. Apart from Busan Ongbanrungphan all other seeds made it to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals were quite contrasting as both Sindhu and Sung Ji-hyun breezed past their respective opponents whereas Carolina Marin and Yamaguchi had to battle hard in their matches to reach the last four. With the top four seeds making it to the semi finals, people expected a one and two clash in the finals but Sindhu much to the crowd’s delight defeated the second seed in straight sets to set a repeat of the 2016 Rio Olympics’ final. Carolina Marin had an uphill task, not only was she up against Sindhu but the entire crowd who were rooting for their home favourite. With a dominant performance, Sindhu clinched her maiden Indian Open Super Series title and vaulted to second place in the BWF World rankings.
With the second and the third seed being toppled out in the second round, the respective quarters of the draw was wide open. All the quarterfinal matches were straight set affairs including the match where fifth seeded Chinese pairing created a huge upset by defeating the top seeds. In the semifinals, the two Indonesian pairs fought hard to make it a repeat of the 2016 finals. With Pratama/Suwardi hoping to turn the tides in their favour, the defending champions gave a stellar performance as they defeated their countrymen to win the gold medal for the second time in as many years.
As the two Korean teams led the draw here, their performance in the tournament was quite contradictory. While the top seeds made it to the last four, the second seeds were sent home packing in the first round itself hence leaving the bottom draw wide open. With no major upset apart from the exit of fifth seeded Thai paring and Bulgarian sixth seeds, this week was a fairytale for Fukushima and Hirota who reached the semifinals defeating the conquerors of the second seeded Korean pair. The other three semifinalists were Kyung-eun Jung and Seung-chan Shin (Korea), Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto (Japan) as well as Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao from Japan. Although the third seeds had it easy in their semi finals, their countrywomen had to go through a three setter to reach the finals. In the finals, the seventh seeds made an outstanding comeback to win the match 16-21, 21-19, 21-10.
Besides the Indian pairing of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy and the sixth seeded Thai pair, all the remaining seeds reached the quarterfinals. Continuing the proceedings were the top 4 seeds who cemented their positions in the last four clash after winning their respective quarter-final clashes. While the top seeds got a walkover in their semifinal, the second seeds breezed through as they got the better off the Adcocks in straights. The final was badminton at its best. With both the teams , sweating it all out, eventually it was the second seeds who won the match and the title.
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