Sindhu and Nehwal advance at Malaysia Masters

Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap unable to progress from the opening round. 

By Rahul Venkat ·

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal both made safe progress on the second day of the Malaysia Masters Super 500.

PV Sindhu got the better of Russian Evgeniya Kosetskaya, 21-15, 21-13.

A change of shuttlecock in the first game did the trick for the Olympic silver medallist: after being locked at 14-all, Sindhu suddenly surged allowing Kosetskaya only one more solitary point.

The second game started as the first ended, as PV Sindhu swiftly moved to an 11-1 lead and then 14-4 before the Russian fought back to win five back-to-back points.

PV Sindhu allowed the tie to get as close as 15-13 but with her Russian opponent beginning to make a series of unforced errors, the 24-year-old Indian ended up with an easy route into the second round by wrapping up the tie in 35 minutes.

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Saina Nehwal eases past Tan

Saina Nehwal progressed past Belgium’s Lianne Tan, 21-15, 21-17 in their first round encounter.

Nehwal initially slipped to 0-3 in the first game but Tan could not sustain that early momentum as she kept trying to push the Indian shuttler to the baseline but could not always get her placement right.

That gave her opponent a few points and allowed her to make her way back in the game. Nehwal then gave Tan a run around the court to go into the mid-game interval at 11-7 but the latter clawed back soon to make it 13-all.

However, Nehwal elevated her game from that point on, conceding only two more points before closing it out at 21-15. Unlike the first game, it was Nehwal who broke through this time by claiming the first point but she found herself constantly trading points with Tan, losing six consecutive points to convert an 11-7 lead to an 11-13 deficit at one point.

She regained her composure soon enough though and moved to a 19-15 advantage before eventually closing out the match when Tan misjudged a return on the baseline.

Srikanth, Kashyap fall to top seeds

While Nehwal was moving past Tan in Court 3, Kidambi Srikanth fell to a heavy 17-21, 5-21 loss to world No. 2, Chou Tien Chen in the adjoining court.

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Srikanth was always on the backfoot, even in a seemingly competitive first game. He took the lead just once through the match, committing many unforced errors as he looked to stretch his opponent. Any hopes of Srikanth spurring on in the second did not come to fruition as the man from Chinese Taipei deftly defied the Indian any chance.

The other big name in the men’s singles draw, Parupalli Kashyap also could not get past top-ranked Japanese, Kento Momota, losing 17-21, 16-21, ensuring a more respectable scoreline than his compatriot.

The first game had a few crests and troughs, with the initial parts being closely contested before Momota raced to a 14-7 lead. Kashyap fought back to give himself a semblance of a chance at 17-15 but could not sustain it enough to challenge the world no.1 further.

The Indian competed for long periods in the second game, getting to 14-12 but Momota ran away with it thereafter, comfortably winning the match-up.

Sai Praneeth falters

Another Indian hope in the men’s singles fizzled out when B Sai Praneeth fell to lesser-ranked Rasmus Gemke, losing 11-21, 15-21 earlier in the day.

The 44-minute encounter saw Praneeth tamely go down in the first game and also start the second with a 0-6 deficit before he saved his pride with a slew of points. However, he had already conceded enough ground and Gemke was not left with much to do towards the end.