Sindhu, S Praneeth, P Kashyap enter second round in Malaysia Masters

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Top Indian shuttlers — P.V Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap — advanced to the second round while compatriot Saina Nehwal made a first-round exit at the Malaysia Masters 2022, here on Wednesday.

Former world champion Sindhu advanced to the second round women’s singles event after a hard-fought 21-13, 17-21, 21-15 win over China’s He Bing Jiao in 56 minutes at the Axiata Arena.

Sindhu, who had lost to He Bing Jiao in the first round of the Indonesia Open last month, dominated the early exchanges to build a massive 11-3 lead heading into the first break. The Indian player then controlled the game to take a 1-0 lead.

After the change of ends, Jiao led the two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu 11-7 at the break. The Indian ace, with a four-point streak, levelled the game at 11-all but He Bing Jiao regrouped quickly and stretched the match into the decider.

The third game saw both shuttlers engage in long rallies. After the scores were tied at 3-all, World No. 7 Sindhu struck 10 points on the trot and weathered a late comeback to progress into the second round of the BWF Super 500 badminton tournament.

This was Sindhu’s ninth win over the world No. 9 He Bing Jiao in 19 games. P.V. Sindhu also defeated He Bing Jiao on her way to the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal last year. In the second round, the Indian shuttler will face the winner of the match between world No. 47 Putri Kusuma Wardani of Indonesia and world bronze medallist Zhang Yi Man of China.

However, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina went down 21-16, 17-21, 14-21 to Kim Ga Eun of South Korea. The 32-year-old had also made a first-round exit from the Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament last week.

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Meanwhile, world championships bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth, ranked 20th, beat former Pan American Games champion Kevin Cordon of Guatemala 21-8, 21-9. On the other hand, P. Kashyap came back from a one-game deficit to dispatch local favourite Tommy Sugiarto 16-21, 21-16, 21-16.

However, world No. 30 Sameer Verma lost to world No. 4 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-10, 12-21, 14-21 to make an early exit.

Later in the day, H.S Prannoy and the women’s doubles pair of N. Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will begin their campaigns.

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