SINGAPORE, 19 JUNE: Rising Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth (in photo) B notched up a stunning straight-game victory over world number four Yun Hu of Hong Kong in the men’s singles opening round in the Singapore Super Series here today. Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal also crossed the first-round hurdle in women’s singles, defeating Juan Gu bya scoreline of 21-14 23-21.  The 23-year-old from Hyderabad will next take on Japanese Eriko Hirose, who holds a 3-2 record against the Indian.     The world number 61 Indian Praneeth brushed aside the second seeded shuttler 21-9 21-10 in a match that lasted 30 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The 20-year-old from Hyderabad, who had spoilt former world and Olympics champion Taufik Hidayat’s farewell in Indonesia, will next take on the winner between RMV Gurusaidutt and Wei Feng Chong in the second round.
Praneeth had lost to Yun in straight games at the Vietnam International Challenge in 2009. However, all other Indians suffered defeats in the opening round to crash out of the tournament.
Ajay Jayaram went down fighting 19-21 21-18 17-21 against fourth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan, while top seed Pengyu Du sent Anand Pawar packing 21-16 21-13 in another men’s singles match. Another rising shuttler Sourabh Varma was defeated 17-21 17-21 by Wing Ki Wong in another men’s singles opening round match which lasted for 37 minutes.
In women’s singles, Arundhati Pantawane lost to world number 26 Bulgarian Petya Nedelcheva 18-21 18-21, while PC Thulasi put up a gallant fight against world number 14 Indonesian Lindaweni Faetri before going down 23-21 16-21 16-21 in an energy-sapping 66-minute match.
In mixed doubles competition, Indian pair of Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa lost to third seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir 6-21 10-21, while Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan suffered a 17-21 21-19 12-21 loss to Thai combo of Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul.
Badminton league
After two postponements, the Indian Badminton League (IBL) today finally took a step forward as they announced its first franchise – the PVP Group that succesfully bid for the Hyderabad Headshots.
A Hyderabad-based multi business house that has interest in realty, media and entertainment and particularly Bollywood, PVP Group makes its debut in sports league and comes with no previous connect with the sport.
Speaking on its association with Badminton and IBL, Chairman of PVP Group, Prasad V Potluri, said: “We are extremely delighted with our association with the Indian Badminton League.
“PVP Group aims to utilise this platform and will ensure that Badminton in India grows and continues to produce world champions. Badminton has brought huge laurels for India in the past and is again capturing the imagination of the masses through the achievements of stars like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and others. “PVP is confident that the IBL will serve as a great platform to promote and reward both established players and upcoming ones,” he added.
Speaking on their decision to buy Hyderabad Headshots, Potluri said: “Sports is an integral part of the Consumption story in India.
It’s a logical expansion of our Media & Entertainment business to pitch for a badminton team and enter the sports entertainment business.” The IBL was proposed during the Senior National Championship in December last year but the ambitious project was postponed twice from February to June, and then from June to 14-31 August. Sporty Solutions, who are the ‘Commercial Partner’ for IBL, also could not announce the names of the six franchise owners and the date for the players’ auction. Ashish Chadha, CEO, Sporty Solutionz, said, “We are proud to be associated with PVP Group and them coming on board as the owners of Hyderabad Hotshots.”