PV Sindhu put in a strong performance to get the better of world No 10 Pornpawee Chochuwong in their first round match at the Malaysia Open Super 750 in Kuala Lumpur.
The world No 7 from Hyderabad took 40 minutes to register a 21-13, 21-17 win and set up a second round clash against another Thai player, World No 20 Phittayaporn Chaiwan.
This was Sindhu’s ninth meeting against Chochuwong, and it took the Indian just 18 minutes to secure the first game. The 26-year-old went up 2-1 in the early exchanges and stayed in the lead throughout the game. At 16-13, when the game was still close, Sindhu turned the screws and won the last five points to finish the game.
Chochuwong did come back strong in the second game, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to take a commanding 16-10 lead. That’s where Sindhu shifted gears, winning 11 of the next 12 points to secure the game and the match.
Sindhu is the only Indian to progress through to the second round in women’s singles after former world No 1 Saina Nehwal lost in straight games to Iris Wang.
The 32-year-old, who has been struggling for consistency, lost 11-21, 17-21 in a match that lasted 37 minutes.
Parupalli Kashyap, meanwhile, progressed to the second round of a tournament for the first time in 12 attempts, beating South Korea’s Kwang Hee Heo 21-12, 21-17 in 39 minutes. The last time he won a first round match was at the China Open in 2019.
The 35-year-old, who won the men’s singles gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, did not trail at all in the first game. There was some resistance from the South Korean who briefly led 13-10 in the second game. At 15-15 though, Kashyap started to pick up the pace and won the next four points in a row, before eventually closing out the game and match at 21-17.
He will next play Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
At the start of play on Tuesday the mixed doubles team of Ashwini Ponappa and B Sumeeth Reddy lost in a close match to Dutch pair Selena Piek and Robin Tabeling, 21-15, 19-21, 21-17 in 52 minutes.
In the last match of the day featuring Indians, the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam lost 11-21, 14-21 to Japanese pair of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.