The Indian women’s doubles badminton pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto made their way into the quarter-finals of the 2024 Malaysia Open Super 1000 on Thursday, beating world No 9 pair of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.

In a contest which lasted more than an hour, Ponnappa and Crasto prevailed 21-19, 13-21, 21-15 against their higher ranked opponents from Japan.

The early stages of the match were evenly poised with both pairs level on 6-6 before the Indians edged ahead at 10-6. Matsumoto and Nagahara, former world champions, however fought back soon enough to level up at 16-16.

Ponnappa and Crasto managed to bring out their best under pressure to pocket the first game 21-19.

The second game had the Japanese pair’s name written all over it as they curbed the attacking game of the Indian pair, who kept committing errors one after the other to surrender it 13-21.

Ponnappa and Crasto, however, once again found their rhythm when it mattered as they cruised to win the decider 21-15 and book their place in the quarter-finals.

“We fell short in the second game but went all-in in the third with a big smile and took it till the end and kept fighting,” Crasto said after the win.

This win comes at a crucial juncture for Ponnappa and Crasto, who are one of the top pairs in contention to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics later this year.

Satwik/Chirag advance

Later in the day, the Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also advanced to the quarter-finals with a straight game 21-11, 21-18 win over the French pair of Lucas Corvee and Ronan Labar.

While the former world No 1 team from India cruised to take the first game 21-11, they found themselves under immense pressure in the second as they trailed 4-11 down at the mid-game interval.

However, Rankireddy and Shetty – as they often have – mounted a comeback post the break to draw level at 16-16. Once they found the momentum, there was no stopping the Asian Champions as they took the second game 21-18 to wrap up the match in just 39 minutes.

Kidambi Srikanth exits

The Indian challenge in the singles section ended in the Round of 16 as Kidambi Srikanth faced a 13-21, 17-21 straight game loss against Angus Ka Long of Hong Kong.

The former world No 1 started off well in the contest as he raced to a 7-1 lead early on but soon lost the plot completely. Once Long settled in and found his rhythm, Srikanth struggled to get going.

The Indian kept losing points in bulk as he surrendered the first game 13-21 before losing the second 17-21 to concede the match.

Srikanth did try to force a fightback late in the second game, stitching together a few points, but it was not enough to trouble the Hong Kong shuttler.