Malaysia Masters: Sindhu, Prannoy storm into semis; Srikanth ousted in quarters
Kuala Lumpur, May 26 (IANS) India's PV Sindhu and H.S Prannoy continued their magical runs at the Malaysia Masters 2023 badminton championship, storming into the semifinals with hard-fought victories in the quarterfinals here on Friday.
Sindhu and Prannoy, India's highest-ranked players in the women's and men's singles rankings respectively, were the only Indians remaining in the contention as Kidambi Srikanth's campaign ended in the quarterfinals, losing to Christian Adinata of Indonesia in three games.
Playing on Court 1 at Axiata Arena in the Malaysian capital, two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu won her quarter-final tie in a thrilling match against Zhang Yi Man of China 21-16, 13-21, 22-20. She will next face Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia, who is ranked 9th in the BWF World Rankings, in the semifinals. Georgia stunned China's second-seeded Wang Zhi Yi 21-11, 21-14 in the first women's singles quarterfinal of the day.
In the men's singles, Prannoy continued his brilliant run in the BWF World Tour Super 500 event as he defeated Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 25-23, 18-21, 21-13 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he will face Christian Adinata of Indonesia.
Adinata got the better of India's Kidambi Srikanth, who won the first game and enjoyed a 15-13 lead in a neck-and-neck battle in the second before losing 16-21, 21-16, 11-21 in a 57 minutes encounter in which the Indonesian won 58 rallies as compared to 48 by the Indian.
In their quarterfinal clash on Friday, China's Zhang Yi Man got off to a good start and jumped to a 5-0 lead before Sindhu won her first point. However, the Indian shuttler, who won a silver in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and followed it up with a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, came back strongly to level scores at 10-10 before taking the lead.
Sindhu went ahead 15-11 and went on to win the opening game at 21-16. Zhang turned the tables in the second game as she took the lead at 4-3 before extending it to 10-3 and 15-9 as she went on to win the game 21-13.
the 27-year-old Sindhu took an early 5-1 lead but Zhang caught up with her at 12-12. She gained a tw0-point lead at 15-13. A neck-and-neck battle ensured before Sindhu got her first match point at 20-17. However, the Chinese player was not done yet and tied it at 20-20. But Sindhu won the next two points to win the game 22-20 and the match in 74 minutes.
In their men's singles quarterfinal, Prannoy conceded an early 0-3 lead but fought back to level at 5-5. Moshimoto won the next four points to make it 9-5 before the Indians caught up with him again and too lead at 13-12. The Indian shuttler maintained his lead as they reached 16-13 but his Japanese opponent earned a game point at 20-17. Prannoy saved it and then went on to win 25-23 after a keen tussle.
In the second game, after the two players fought hard for each point and remained neck-and-neck till 9-11, Nishimoto opened a 17-11 lead and though Prannoy cut the gap to 18-19, the Japanese shuttler won the next two points to win the game 21-18.
In the decider, Prannoy took the lead from 4-all and took the lead at 7-5 and extended it to 11-5. Nishimoto reduced the margin to 10-14, there was no denying Prannoy and the Indians went on to win the game 21-13 and sealed his place in the semifinal.