Star Indian shuttlers P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the pre-quarterfinals after pulling off contrasting wins in the opening round of the $700,000 Malaysia Open World Tour super 750 tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu, who had skipped the Uber Cup Finals to regain full fitness after claiming a silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, took some time to get into the groove before she edged out World No 14 Japan’s Aya Ohori 26-24 21-15 in the opening round. The third-seeded Indian will meet Malaysia’s Ying Ying Lee on Thursday at the Axiata Arena at Bukit Jalil, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.
In the men’s singles, World No 7 Srikanth, who claimed four titles last season, dumped former World No 2 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark 21-18 21-9 in a 31-minute clash here. The 25-year-old from Guntur will next face Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, who defeated Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth 21-12 21-7, in the other opening round match. In men’s doubles, Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty’s campaign ended after a 16-21 15-21 loss to seventh seeded Japanese combo of Takuto Inoue and Yuki Kaneko.
Srikanth largely dominated the proceedings as he led 5-0 and then 13-8 at one stage. Jorgensen, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from an injury, levelled at 13-13 and grabbed a small 18-17 lead but in the end, two errors at the net cost him the opening game. In the second game, Srikanth and Jorgensen fought hard to move to 5-5 before the Indian broke off and grabbed an 11-6 lead at the interval with a solid smash. He kept dominating the rallies and eventually reached match point with another powerful smash, sealing the contest when the Dane went long.
In the women’s singles, Sindhu’s slender 8-6 lead vaporised when Ohori had a 12-10 and 15-13 advantage. But Sindhu managed to turn the tables, reaching 19-17. The Japanese came back to grab game points at 20-19 but the Indian saved one. However, she failed to convert three game points herself as Ohori again held a 24-23 lead. In the end, Sindhu held her nerves to close out the opening game. In the second game, Sindhu eked out a slender 8-6 lead at one stage and despite a fightback by Ohori, she managed to break free at 14-14 to comfortably seal the contest.
Kidambi Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be in action later in the day.