PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal make Malaysia Masters exit

Both women’s singles stars lose in straight games, bow out of tournament

By Subhayan Dutta ·

PV Sindhu lost to top seed Tai Tzu Ying in their Malaysia Masters quarter-final encounter in Kuala Lumpur.

Despite the match seeing frequent bursts of intensity over a period of 36 minutes, the sixth-seeded Indian eventually went down 16-21, 16-21.

The other Indian in action on the day, veteran Saina Nehwal went down 8-21, 7-21, to Spain’s Carolina Marin to bow out of the tournament in the quarter-final.

The match witnessed Marin dominating the Indian from the beginning as the outcome was decided in just half an hour.

Sindhu goes down in a gruelling battle

With PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying having faced each other 16 times prior to Friday's contest, both shuttlers were privy to each other’s weaknesses and there were constant attempts at exploiting them.

While Sindhu resorted to long smashes and serves, eyeing to finish off the move at the net, the Taiwanese star kept bringing her Indian counterpart to the net to induce unforced errors.

The competitive first game saw Sindhu trailing 9-11 at the break but the Indian was not out of the game yet. Sindhu’s struggle started only after her break, where she was leading 13-11. Tai Tzu Ying then executed her plan to perfection, allowing Sindhu just three more points before winning the first game 21-16.

Sindhu’s last win over Ying came at the 2019 BWF World Championships, but the fact that the Indian had lost 11 times to the Chinese Taipei shuttler before was showing in the second game. She struggled with her hairpin shots and before she could pull things back, she was trailing 4-11.

Late in the match, Sindhu saved as many as six match points to make it 20-16 but the outcome was just a matter of time by then and Ying sealed the game 21-16 to advance into the semi-final.

Marin reigns supreme against Nehwal

The last time Saina Nehwal and Carolina Marin met was in the final of the Indonesian Masters last year, when the Olympic champion Marin hobbled off court with a knee injury that would rule her out for much of the season.

The Spaniard gave further example of her recovery by dominating their latest encounter.

Marin kept exploring the deep corners of the court that Nehwal struggled to return and the Indian’s clustered points mostly came through long drives that Marin misjudged. However, those were rare occurrences and Nehwal trailed 6-11 at the break within no time.

Post break, the little remaining competition came to an end as well with Marin winning nine consecutive points to take the result beyond doubt and eventually sealing the first game 21-8.

Nehwal had one game to save her campaign, but Marin killed that hope with a stupendous backhand drop shot to begin the second game. The Spaniard was at her aggressive best, which was evident at the numerous times Nehwal had to take Marin’s body smashes throughout the match.

Nehwal’s plethora of unforced errors at the front court further helped Marin’s cause as she led 11-6 at the break yet again. The match was all but over as Nehwal could take only one point after the break as Marin went on another rampaging streak, winning eight consecutive points this time. The match ended 21-8, 21-7.

Marin now leads their head-to-head 7-6.