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Malaysia Masters 2019: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth advance; big upset win for Parupalli Kashyap

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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700   //    16 Jan 2019, 23:08 IST

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth both advanced to the second round of the Malaysia Masters 2019 in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday but the biggest highlight of the day from the Indian contingent was the huge upset win for Parupalli Kashyap over the World No. 20 Rasmus Gemke.

The former Commonwealth Games champion fought back after losing the first game narrowly to notch up a 19-21, 21-19, 21-10 win over the Danish shuttler in 1 hour 7 minutes. The 32-year-old, a qualifier at this Super 500 tournament, has a tough task up next as he meets the sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, the winner of the China Open last year.

Kashyap’s wife Saina Nehwal was made to work very hard for her first win of the year on the BWF World Tour. The former champion faced World No. 37 Deng Joy Xuan who punched above her weight to give a scare to Saina.

The Hong Kong shuttler led till 21-14, 7-4 with her highly accomplished opponent struggling to find her rhythm. But just like she has done countless times before, the former World No. 1 managed to elevate her game under pressure to carve out a 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 win in 1 hour 5 minutes.

Up next for the seventh seed is the World No. 34 Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong.

Men’s singles seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth simply picked up from where he left at the Premier Badminton League Season 4, where he led the Bengaluru Raptors to their maiden title win. Srikanth had remained unbeaten at the league, winning all his eight matches and he began his Malaysia Masters with the same kind of confidence as he dismissed World No. 14 NG Ka Long Angus 21-17, 21-11 in just 30 minutes.

Srikanth has World No. 38 Wong Wing Ki Vincent in his quest for a quarter-final berth.

Also winning on Day 2 of the tournament was the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy. The two staved off a late surge from NG Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying to record a 21-16, 22-20 win.

Reddy had mixed fortunes, however, for she and Pranaav Jerry Chopra went down fighting 19-21, 17-21 to Dutch qualifiers Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.

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