Malaysia Masters Badminton 2020: Day 2 Round-up - Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu advance; Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth bow out; Prannoy and Verma cause upsets
Day 1 of the Malaysia Masters 2020 was disapointing for the Indian contingent. The Men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty failed to make it past Round 1 while Lakshya Sen and Subhankar Dey could not advance to the main draw.
There were mixed fortunes for the Indian contingent on Day 2 of the Super 500 Tournament. Here is a round-up of the results.
Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu cruise to Round 2
Former World No.1 Saina squared off against Belgium's Lianne Tan, whom she was facing for the very first time in her career. She defeated Tan 21-15 21-17 in straight sets and moved to the 2nd round comfortably. The London Olympics Bronze medallist needed just 36 minutes for her first win and is set to face 8th seed South Korean player An Se Young in Round 2.
Meanwhile, PV Sindhu also made a convincing start to her campaign. The 6th seeded Indian shuttler faced Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the first round. The Rio Olympics Silver medallist routed her opponent in 35 minutes. The final scoreline read 21-15 21-13 in favour of Sindhu. The 24-year-old will now face Aya Ohori of Japan in Round 2.
Their progression comes as a sigh of relief for fans as the two had been struggling in recent tournaments by making multiple early exits.
Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, and Sai Praneeth make Round 1 exits
Five Indians - namely Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma, Sai Praneeth, and Kidambi Srikanth - were in the fray in the Men's singles category.
The first one in action on the day was Sai Praneeth. The 27-year-old lost 11-21 15-21 in straight sets to Denmark's Rasmus Gemke. World No.11 Praneeth was a favourite to win the game but the Dane got the better of him in the 44-minute encounter.
Parupalli Kashyap faced top seed Kento Momota in his first match. He was never the favourite against the World No.1. Kashyap fought well against the Japanese player but eventually lost 17-21 16-21 in straight sets.
Meanwhile, India's biggest hope in the category - Kidambi Srikanth - was also handed a tough draw. Carving out a win against Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen was never going to be easy. The 2nd seeded Chen gave no time for Kidambi to settle and comfortably won 21-17, 21-5 in just 30 minutes.
These three eliminations come as a blow and dented India's chances in the coveted tournament taking place in Kuala Lumpur.
However, there was some respite in the Men's Singles category.
Get the full Malaysia Masters 2020 Results here
HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma punch above their weight
HS Prannoy put up a fantastic show to defeat Kanta Tsuneyama, who is ranked 16 places above him. The Delhi-born player defeated the Japanese shuttler in 21-9, 21-17 in straight sets. Prannoy is set to lock horns with top seed Kento Momota in his Round 2 match.
The day got better when 33 ranked Sameer Verma of India upset Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand. The 25-year-old put up a gutsy performance and defeated his higher-ranked counterpart 21-16 21-15 in straight games. Verma will be facing Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in his upcoming match on January 9.
Reddy-Chopra crash out
Finally, in the Mixed doubles category - N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra lost 10-21 10-21 to top seeds Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong. Reddy and Jerry tried to put up a fight but were no match for the World No.1 Japanese pair and the match ended in just 23 minutes.