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Malaysia Open: Srikanth, Sindhu advance; Saina exits

Last updated on: June 28, 2018 20:54 IST

Kidambi Srikanth

IMAGE: India's Kidambi Srikanth in action during the Celcom Axiata Badminton Malaysia Open 2018 at Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. Photograph: How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

Star shuttlers P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth notched straight-game victories to progress to the quarter-finals, but it was curtains for Saina Nehwal in the US $700,000 Malaysia Open World Tour Super 750 tournament, at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, a suburb in Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday.

Olympic and World Championships silver medallist Sindhu brushed aside the challenge of Malaysia's Ying Ying Lee 21-8, 21-14 to set up a clash with Olympic champion and former world No. 1 Carolina Marin.


The 22-year-old Indian has a 5-6 head-to-head record against the Spaniard.

In men's singles, fourth seed Srikanth saw off Chinese Taipei's Wang Tzu Wei 22-20, 21-12 in 36 minutes to take his head-to-head count to 3-0.

The 25-year-old from Guntur, who had a brief reign as world No. 1 in April, will clash with France's Brice Leverdez on Friday.

The Indian had beaten the world No. 22 Frenchman in three games at the All England Championships earlier this year.

Earlier, Saina's run at the Malaysia Open ended with a straight-game loss to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi.

Saina, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, went down 15-21, 13-21 to world No. 2 Yamaguchi in 36 minutes.

This is Saina's sixth straight loss to the Japanese in seven meetings. The only time Saina had defeated Yamaguchi was in the 2014 China Open.

Yamaguchi, who had struggled a bit against Saina during their last meeting at the Uber Cup Final, produced a dominating show as she led 9-2 in the first game.

P V Sindhu

IMAGE: India's Pusarla V Sindhu set up a meeting with Olympic champion and former world No. 1 Carolina Marin. Photograph: How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

Saina fought back to narrow the gap to 10-11 but the Japanese again jumped to an 18-11 lead and eventually secured the opening game comfortably.

In the second game, Yamaguchi raced to 8-2 before shutting the door on the Indian.

World No. 3 Sindhu hardly broke a sweat. She first opened up a 6-4 lead and then reeled off eight straight points to jump to 14-4.

In the second game, she again held an 8-7 lead before moving to 13-7.

Lee tried to make a comeback but Sindhu was always ahead.

In the men's singles, Srikanth zoomed to a 11-3 lead at the break after dominating the proceedings right from the start. Wang, however, did not give up and kept breathing down Srikanth's neck to eventually level scores at 20-20.

But Srikanth grabbed the two crucial points to pocket the opening game.

In the second game, Srikanth was ruthless as he surged to 10-2 and despite Wang trying to step up his attack, the Indian kept his composure to seal the contest comfortably.

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