HS Prannoy and PV Sindhu sealed their progress to the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open Super 750 with contrasting wins on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, former world No 6 Parupalli Kashyap lost 21-19, 21-10 to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the second round.
In the men’s singles round of 16, Prannoy stunned fourth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei with an incredible scoreline of 21-15, 21-7. Earlier, in the women’s singles, Sindhu had to fight back from a game down against Thailand youngster Phittayaporn Chaiwan to win 19-21 21-9 21-14 in 57 minutes.
Prannoy was in imperious form as he defeated Chou with a scoreline of 21-7 in the second game, winning 12 points in a row to close out the match and improve his head-to-head to 2-4 in the sixth meeting between them.
Relatively speaking, the Indian was off to a slow start in the match against Chou. There were a few nervous-looking errors in the opening exchanges as Chou lead 4-1, then 6-3. But, warmed up, the Indian former top 10 player, started dictating the tempo with his smashes. He started finding the lines, moved Chou to the corners, and controlled the rallies as he had during the Indonesia Open semi-final run last week. An 11-8 lead at the interval soon became 16-10 and he was under no threat of losing the opener. Among the points that Chou managed after that were a couple of service errors from Prannoy.
The second game too started off as a close one. It was 4-4 at one point, and Chou even had the serve at 7-9. But from there on, the World No 4 did not win a single rally as Prannoy reeled off an incredible run of 12 straight points to seal the deal.
The 29-year-old, who won all his matches during India’s Thomas Cup triumph, has been in great form on the circuit and this would go down as one of his best wins in recent times. He next faces seventh seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, against who his H2H is 3-5.
Earlier on, Sindhu took some time to figure out Chiawan’s game in what was their first meeting on tour. The Thai 21-year-old, who was silver medallist at the recent South East Asian Games, has been steadily on the rise and she showed why with some wonderful deception skills that caught Sindhu by surprise.
To her credit, Sindhu didn’t let the opening game slip away and kept things close even though Chaiwan closed it out with a straight smash, 21-19.
Whatever coach Park Tae Sang then told her, worked like a treat as Sindhu came racing out of the blocks after the change of ends. The second-game was one-way traffic as Sindhu bagged it 21-9. The first half of the third game saw Chaiwan fight back and at 10-10, came arguably the best point of the match that Sindhu won to take a one-point lead into the final change of ends. From the side she dominated the second game, Sindhu closed things out comfortably.
The reward for Sindhu’s two fine wins against Thai opponents, is now a quarterfinal clash against World No 2 Tai Tzu Ying. In the 21st meeting between the Tokyo 2020 medallists, Sindhu will be hoping to end a run of five straight defeats against Tai, who has been in impressive form lately. The former World No 1 holds a 15-5 H2H against Sindhu.
It was a match of contrasting games for Kashyap, who was into the second round of a tournament for the first time in 12 attempts.
Kashyap led his Thai opponent 18-16 in the first game only for Vitidsarn to win four points on the trot. Kashyap saved one game point but Vitidsarn closed out the first game 21-19.
Kashyap started strongly in the second game to lead 5-3 but Vitidsarn won the next five points and took a 11-7 lead at the break.
Kashyap attempted a comeback but 12-10 was as close as he would get as Vitidsarn went on a nine-point run to clinch the game and the match in 44 minutes.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, who were scheduled to play in the second round later in the day, are listed as giving a walkover to the Malaysian pair of Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzudin.
As per an update from Badminton Association of India: “Satwik pulled a muscle in his core. He was better today but not enough to play and with CWG around, the coaches and physios advised him to not play.”
Watch highlights of Sindhu’s win against Chaiwan here:
Watch a recap of Prannoy’s win over Chou in this stream: