PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth got their Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament campaigns to a winning start registering hard fought victories over Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia and Japan’s Aya Ohori respectively in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
But it was curtains in the first round for HS Prannoy and Saina Nehwal, both on the comeback trail from injuries.
Srikanth, fresh from his final appearance in the India Open last week, needed some time to get into his rhythm but registered a comfortable 21-18, 21-16 win in just 38 minutes. He will now face Khosit Phetpradab of Indonesia in the second round.
On the adjacent court, Sindhu was made to work hard for her 22-20, 21-12 win by the left-handed Ohori.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist began well and took a 5-2 lead before Ohori fought back with her deceptive strokes to open up a 12-7 lead. The Indian responded by winning six straight points to wrest back the lead immediately, but once again lapsed into a series of errors to allow the Japanese to nose ahead.
Sindhu, however, did not give up as she once again levelled the scores at 19-19 by winning three straight points and even though she had to save one game point thereafter, looked in control after winning the game in the first two extra points.
She then stepped up the pressure in the second game to sail through and set up a second round clash against her All England conquerer Sung Ji Hyun, who defeated Fitrani Fitrani 21-15, 21-15.
Earlier, HS Prannoy wasted a strong start against Thailand’s Sittikom Thammasin to lose 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 in 56 minutes.
Prannoy looked in total control through the opening game dominating the net against the Thailand player. However, he was guilty of making too many errors in the second and third and Sittikom pounced on the opportunities and set up a second round clash against Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama.
It was also the end of the road for men’s doubles combination of Manu Atri and B Sumeeth Reddy as they went down 21-16, 21-6 against Chinese seventh seeds Chengkai Han and Haodong Zhou.
In India’s final match of the day, Nehwal was knocked out by Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong. The Thai shuttler, ranked No 21 in the world, capitalised on Nehwal’s error-strewn dispaly. The Indian ace, who had to miss India Open last week due to her ongoing struggles with gastroenteritis, made her comeback in Malaysia and got off to a good start in the first game.
Though she squandered five game points before eventually winning the first game 22-20, there were signs later in that game that Nehwal wouldn’t have it easy. Pornpawee fought back late in the first game and that gave her the momentum, as she wrapped the next two games fairly easy. Nehwal eventually lost 22-20, 15-21, 10-21 in 54 minutes.