Malaysia Masters: Sindhu, Srikanth, Prannoy reach QF
India’s top singles players PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth made it another good day for India in Kuala Lumpur, reaching the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament on Thursday.
Sixth seed Sindhu beat Aya Ohori of Japan in straight games in women’s singles while Prannoy had to dig deep to get the better of Shi Feng Li of China in men’s singles. Later in the day, Srikanth prevailed over eighth seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand. However, Lakshya Sen went down in the second round, to Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong.
The Super 500 is the first of five straight weeks of top-flight tournaments on the BWF Tour and only India’s singles players are in action at the event which is among the first in the Olympic qualification cycle that began this month.
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Taking the court first, world No. 13 Sindhu extended her domination over Ohori, ranked 28th, taking just 40 minutes to win 21-16, 21-11 in the round of 16. It was her 13th win over the Japanese in as many meetings. She will next face China’s Zhang Yi Man, who has a 2-1 record against the Indian. Sindhu has been erratic since her return from a five-month injury layoff in January and has slowly been building up momentum.
World No 9 Prannoy then fought back from a game down world No 11 and reigning All England champion Li 13-21, 21-16, 21-11 in one hour and 10 minutes. It was his second gritty win in as many days, having beaten world No 6 Chou Tien Chen in the first round.
He will play Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, who knocked out third seed Jonatan Christie, for a place in the semifinal. The Indian has a 0-2 record against him.
Srikanth, however, showed that head-to-head record doesn’t always matter as he notched a superb 21-19, 21-19 win over India Open champion Vitidsarn. The Indian had never beaten the World Championship silver medallist in three meetings before but put up a vintage display to get the straight-games win.
The former world No 1 will next play Indonesian qualifier Christian Adinata. The two have not played before and Srikanth has a good chance in a section without another seed after the withdrawal of world No 1 Viktor Axelsen.