Malaysia Masters: Sindhu, Prannoy, Praneeth, Kashyap enter second round; Saina bows out

Kuala Lumpur, July 6 (IANS) Top Indian shuttlers — P.V Sindhu, H.S Prannoy, B. Sai Praneeth, 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, former world No. 1 Saina’s poor run of form continued as she suffered another early exit. Saina, a London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, looked in good touch against South Korea’s Kim Ga Eun in the opening game but conceded the advantage to lose 21-16, 17-21, 14-21.
The 32-year-old, who had also made a first-round exit from the Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament last week, is yet to progress past the second round in any competition this year.
In the men’s singles, HS Prannoy, back in the top-20 of the BWF world rankings for the first time in over three years, continued his purple patch with a 21-19, 21-14 win over Frenchman Brice Leverdez. The Indian, ranked 19th, will take on Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei, next.
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, former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap also registered a 16-21, 21-16, 21-16 win over Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto to sail into the next round.
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.
In the women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy lost to Indonesia’s Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi 21-19, 18-21, 21-16.

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