India’s Ashmita Chaliha registered a shock victory over world No 10 Beiwen Zhang of the United States to advance to the women’s singles quarter-finals of the 2024 Malaysia Masters Super 500 on Thursday.

Chaliha, ranked 53rd in the world, prevailed 21-19, 16-21, 21-12 over the third seeded Zhang in a 43-minute long encounter at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

The Indian got off to a good start in the contest as she raced to an 8-4 lead in the first game, before Zhang levelled things up at 10-10. Chaliha, however, had the edge heading into the mid-game interval as the American pushed a shuttle wide.

Though the vastly experienced Zhang put up a good fight, Chaliha maintained her composure to win it 21-19 without any issues.

The second game saw the left-handed Indian struggle from the other end of the court as she trailed 8-11 at the mid-game interval before Zhang asserted her dominance to pocket it 21-16 to force a decider.

The 24-year-old from Assam, however, completely outplayed her opponent in the third game as she raced to an 11-4 lead before the change of sides. Though Zhang put up a much better display in the latter stages of the decider, the early advantage for Chaliha meant that she was never in trouble and could wrap up the match 21-12.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chaliha had defeated Lin Sih Yun of Chinee Taipei 21-17, 21-16 to enter the Round of 16.

Sindhu advances

Later in the day, the double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu fended off a scare from South Korea’s Sim Yu Jin to book her slot in the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Masters.

Sindhu, who returned to court after more than a month in the opening round of the competition, beat the world No 34 shuttler 21-13, 12-21, 21-14 in just under an hour.

The former world champion did not have the best of starts against Sim and was trailing 8-10 before a stunning run of ten consecutive points saw the complexion of the contest change completely. Sindhu eventually pocketed the opening game 21-13, with the Korean winning only three of the last 15 points.

Sim, however, bounced back splendidly as she outplayed the Indian to take the second game 21-12 after trailing 9-10 to force a decider.

Sindhu endured a poor start to the decider but soon found herself levelling up at 6-6 before taking an 11-9 lead at the change of ends. She made her experience count as she kept finding good angles to win the decider 21-14 and move into the next round.

Sindhu is now slated to face Han Yue of China in the quarter-finals.

Treesa-Gayatri bow out

Meanwhile, the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand bowed out in the Round of 16 following a 18-21, 22-20, 14-21 loss to lower ranked Sung Shuo Yu and Yu Chien Hui of Chinese Taipei.

The seventh seeded Indians had a good start to the match and led for a major portion of the first game, but eventually lost six points in a row to concede it 18-21 after leading 18-15.

Treesa and Gayatri did well to put that shock run from the Chinese Taipei pair behind as they saved a match point in the second game to force a decider at 22-20.

However, the joy of fightback was short-lived as they found themselves trailing 8-17 in the decider before suffering an early exit once again.

Earlier in the day, the Indian mixed doubles pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy had their campaign cut short as they fell to a 9-21, 15-21 loss to Malaysia’s top seeded Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei.

The women’s doubles duo of Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi also suffered a similar fate at the hands of the second seeded local pairing of Pearly Tan Thinnah Muralitharan to crash out with a 17-21, 11-21 loss.

Kiran George lost a 44-minute men’s singles match 13-21, 18-21 to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia. The fifth seeded home favourite cruised in the opening game but faced tougher resistance from the Indian shuttler in the second game. George even led 15-12 in the second game, but Lee, the former world No 2, showed his experience to storm back into the game before eventually sealing the match.

In the last match featuring an Indian on Thursday, the men’s doubles team of Krishna Prasad Garaga and K Sai Pratheek were beaten 9-21, 11-21 by third seeded Chinese pair of He Ji Ting and Ren Xiang Yu.