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Odisha Open: Siddharth stuns sixth seed Sheng; Neha, Ruthvika, Gurusaidutt exit


Little-known Siddharth Pratap Singh seized the opportunity to create a flutter and knocked out sixth seed Xiaodong Sheng in straight games for a place in the menโ€™s singles pre-quarterfinals of the $75,000 Odisha Open badminton at Cuttack on Wednesday.

On a day when some of the more illustrious players saw their comeback to a dollar-event ending in the second round, Siddharth performed far better than his World ranking of 138. He ousted the 72nd ranked Canadian citizen 21-17, 21-4 in 27 minutes.

Not so long ago, Neha Pandit, Ruthvika Shivani and R. M. V. Gurusaidutt were among the champions in the National ranking events. But, on this day, the trio exited lacking form, fitness and the necessary drive.

Neha, a replacement for Saina Nehwal at the top of the draw, ran out of steam in 55 minutes against a triumphant Smit Toshniwal, 22-20, 18-21, 21-10. Ruthvika, whose claim to fame is stunning World No 12 P. V. Sindhu to win the 2016 South Asian Games gold, lasted only 22 minutes as Ananya Praveen completed a 21-12, 21-8 rout.

Gurusaidutt, once the brightest rising star among men, lasted only 22 minutes against Kaushal Dharmamer, who raced away to a 21-13, 21-17 victory.

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