India started the 2018 season on a disastrous note with all but one of the shuttlers suffering defeats at the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2018 in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia on Tuesday. The World No. 18 pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy was beaten 18-21, 17-21 by the seventh seeds Lee Chun Hei Reginald and Chau Hoi Wah in the first round of this event, which is one of the seven BWF World Tour Super 500 tournaments.
Prajakta Sawant, who plays alongside Malaysia’s Yogendran Krishnan, was the only Indian to make it through to the second round of mixed doubles after the Australian pair of Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa gave them a walkover.
Kashyap exits in qualifying
In the qualifying rounds, Indians suffered as many as four losses, with Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap being the biggest casualty. Kashyap was seeded fourth but couldn’t overcome Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen, who beat him 21-14, 21-17.
Joining him on the sidelines was the World No. 63 Subhankar Dey, who crashed out with a 21-11, 11-21, 9-21 defeat to Denmark’s Kim Bruun.
In women’s doubles qualifying, the second seeded Indian pair of Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita Ghorpade went down 20-22, 18-21 to the Malaysian combine of Chiew Sien Lim and Zhen Yap. Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP had a tough proposition as they faced the top seeds Ong Ren-Ne and Wong Jia Ying Crystal of Singapore.
The Indians put up a stiff resistance and even snatched a game before succumbing to a 12-21, 21-18, 15-21 defeat.
Indian shuttlers were playing at the Malaysia Masters two days after the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018 got completed on Sunday. While the PBL provided a decent practice for all players before the new season got under way, clearly a lot of work still needs to be done by Indians.
After Tuesday’s dismal show, Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth and the national women’s doubles champions Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa remain the only Indians at this tournament, besides Prajakta Sawant in mixed doubles.
While Sai will take on qualifier Wangcharoen, Ponnappa and Reddy will begin their campaign against the German pair of Johanna Goliszewski and Lara Kaepplein.