Not for the first time in 2019, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun cut short PV Sindhu’s run at a major tournament as the Korean defeated the fifth seeded Indian in the second round of the Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament on Thursday.
Sung won in straight games 21-18, 21-7 in 43 minutes to progress to the quarter-final.
Elsewhere, K Srikanth was left as the only Indian standing in Kuala Lumpur as the eighth seed overcame Khosit Phetpradab to seal his progress to the last eight. The India Open runner-up won 21-11, 21-15 in just 32 minutes and will face Chen Long in the next round.
Earlier, Sindhu’s shaky start to 2019 continued as she was well below her best against Sung. This was Sindhu’s third successive defeat against the former world No 2 — the most recent came in the All England Open earlier this year in March.
In the first game, Sindhu started well going on the offensive. But then Sung started engaging Sindhu in long rallies and was anticipating her shots well.
Sindhu, for her part, also made quite a few error of judgement and two were consecutive at the back line on 20-18 and 21-18. In the second game, she was just not there in the mix. The fifth seed made too many errors and was comfortably outplayed as the Korean, ranked 10th in the world now, won straight points to close the match off.
In the adjacent court to Sindhu, Srikanth was in complete control in the opening game. His net game troubled his opponent a lot and he found the lines regularly when going for the smashes.
The second game was more of the same from the Indian, who continued his good form from India Open where he lost in the final to former world No 1 Viktor Axelsen.
India’s doubles challenge also came to an end on Thursday as Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy were ousted in three games by Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing.
The Malaysian pair came from behind to win 15-21, 21-17, 21-13 in 57 minutes. Pranaav and Sikki could not maintain the same standard of play after winning the opening game and lost in three games.
In another major non-Indian result of the day, world No 1 Kento Momota was stunned by Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie 20-22, 15-21 in a 46-minute encounter. Momota was in the same half as Srikanth. Christie will now face Axelsen in the quarter-finals and the winner of that match will face off against Srikanth or Long.