HS Prannoy (men’s singles), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (men’s doubles) progressed to the second round with contrasting wins at the Malaysia open Super 750 badminton tournament on Tuesday.
After his good run in Indonesia, Prannoy began his campaign in Kuala Lumpur against a familiar opponent in Daren Liew of Malaysia. The Indian had a 6-4 Head-to-Head against Liew but had lost the previous meeting at Thailand Open recently. He started off brilliantly, bagging the opening game. But buoyed by the local support, Liew fought back to force the decider.
But Prannoy steadied himself quickly to take an early lead in the decider. The final stages of the match was a superb battle with the crowd fully invested in proceedings but Prannoy managed to hold on and win 21-14 17-21 21-18 in 62 minutes. The former top 10 player has a tough ask next against fourth Chou Tien Chen. The Chinese Taipei star leads 4-1 in H2H but they have played only once in the last four years.
Later, seventh seeds Satwik-Chirag returned to action for the first time since playing a stellar role in India’s Thomas Cup triumph. They were up against home pair Man Wei Chong and Tee Kai Wun, the first meeting between them. The opening game was a close battle even though the Indians never trailed. The Malaysians kept pushing back every time Satwik-Chirag threatened to pull ahead. Eventually, a superb service return from Satwik gave the Indians the opening game.
The second game started off a close one till 9-9 but from that point on, the Indians dominated while the Malaysians won just two more points. Satwik-Chirag won 21-18 21-11 in 32 minutes. They will next face Goh/Izzuddin of Malaysia in the second round, a familiar opponent. Satwik-Chirag lead 6-1 in the H2H on tour against the current world No 12.
Elsewhere however, there wasn’t much to cheer for the Indian contingent as B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma went down in three games in the opening round of the men’s singles competition, with similar defeats. While Praneeth lost against sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia, Sameer’s campaign came to an end against seventh seed Jonatan Christie.
The 30-year-old Praneeth, enduring a lean patch of results, showed good signs in his match against Ginting but lost 15-21 21-19 9-21 to Ginting in a 50-minute men’s single match. Sameer too, had a similar graph in his 49-minute match shortly after as he lost 14-21 21-13 7-21.
In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also bowed out of the tournament after losing 15-21 11-21 to sixth seeds Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, seeded sixth. Then Ashna Roy and Haritha Manazhiyil Harinarayanan lose 7-21, 12-21 to South Korean duo Na Eun Jeong and Hye Jeong Kim.
On Wednesday, first-round action continues in the Super 750 event. PV Sindhu faces a tough test against world No 10 Pornpawee Chochuwong while Saina Nehwal returns to action after a brief hiatus. P Kashyap also returns to the tour, promoted to the main draw from reserves. Ashwini-Sumeeth will look to add some momentum as they prepare for CWG 2022.