Star shuttlers P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth notched up straight-game wins to progress to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for Saina Nehwal in the $700,000 Malaysia Open world tour super 750 tournament on Thursday.
Olympic and world championship 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 briefly become world no 1 in April, will clash with France’s Brice Leverdez tomorrow. The Indian had beaten the world no 22 French in three games at All England Championship 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 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, a suburb in Kuala Lumpur.
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.
World No 3 Sindhu hardly broke any sweat as she first opened up a 6-4 lead and then reeled off eight straight points to jump to 14-4.
In the second game, Sindhu again held an 8-7 lead before moving to 13-7. Lee tried to make a comeback but Sindhu was always ahead as she comfortably sailed into the quarters.
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, didn’t give up and kept breathing down Srikanth’s neck to eventually claw back 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 advantage and despite Wang trying to step up his attack, the Indian kept his composure to seal the contest comfortably.
Earlier in the day, 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.
Saina fought back to narrow the gap to 10-11 but the Japanese again jumped to an 18-11 advantage and eventually secured the opening game comfortably.
In the second game, Yamaguchi again raced to an 8-2 advantage before shutting the door on the Indian without much ado.