Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth was the star of the opening day of the 2024 Malaysia Open when the Indian beat fifth seed Jonatan Christie from Indonesia 12-21 21-18 21-16 in a come-from-behind win on Tuesday.

The women’s doubles pair of Tanisha Castro and Ashwini Ponnappa were the only other Indians to advance to the second round after a 21-13 21-16 win over the American pair of Francesca Corbette and Allison Lee.

They will now face seventh seeded Japanese duo of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara, who had beaten the sister duo of Rutaparna and Swetaparna Panda in the opening round. In women’s singles, Aakarshi Kashyap, who entered the tournament through the qualifiers, was knocked out in the first round by Zhang Yi Man of China 15-21 15-21.

The men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruva Kapila also lost their opening round match 16-21, 19-21 to the Chinese Taipei pair of Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee.

Srikanth stands tall

The 30-year-old showcased some of his earlier brilliance in the 65-minute match in the way he recovered from trailing in the second and third games especially.

The head-to-head record favoured the Indian in 11 meetings against the Indonesian with six wins. But the start for Srikanth didn’t reflect that as he trailed 4-7 in the opening game. Although he ended up getting a one-point lead at 8-7, Christie blew him away by winning nine straight points to take the first game 21-12.

The Indian began the second game well, taking a 4-0 lead but the fifth seed had the advantage 11-7 at the break. It was after this that Srikanth began taking control of the game, despite trailing at 14-17, the Indian won seven of the next eight points to level the match at 1-game all.

The Indonesian took charge in the deciding game, moving from 5-0 to 14-9, but Srikanth changed up his game plan that had Christie committing a few unforced errors. A seven-point winning streak from Srikanth turned the tables on the Indonesian, clinching the match in three games. The Indian will face Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus in the second round.