Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal came out with a spectacular showing on Thursday as she defeated South Korea’s An Se Young in her second-round clash of the ongoing Malaysia Masters at Kuala Lumpur.
Nehwal, a London Olympics bronze medallist defeated the World No. 8 Young 25-23, 21-12 in a match that lasted for 39 minutes to make it to the quarter-finals.
In the first game, Saina was made to work hard by the 17-year-old as both the shuttlers kept going at each other. But, it was the Indian who had the last laugh and ultimately won the game 25-23.
The Hyderabadi shuttler, however, didn’t have to sweat too much in the second game as she won comfortably by a 21-12 margin to enter the last eight of the competition. Saina on Wednesday had registered a convincing 21-15, 21-17 win over Belgium’s Lianne Tan.
Nehwal will now face long-time rival, Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin of Spain, who defeated China’s Cai Yanyan 21-4, 24-22, for a semi-final berth in the Super 500 tournament.
Sixth seed Sindhu too notched up a commanding 21-10 21-15 victory over Japan’s Aya Ohori in a pre-quarterfinal match lasting just 34 minutes. It was Sindhu’s ninth successive win over Ohori. Sindhu, 24, will face either world number 1 Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying or seventh seed South Korean Sung Ji Hyun in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s singles, Sameer Verma faltered in the second round, losing to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 19-21 20-22.
On Wednesday, it was a poor day for India as Kidambi Srikanth was knocked out in the first round following an embarrassing defeat against Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen. Srikanth lost 17-21, 5-21. The cut off date to pocket a berth for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is April 1.
Another top Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth made a first-round exit after going down to Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke in straight games in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The World championships bronze-medallist’s 11-21 15-21 loss meant another disappointment for India in the Super 500 tournament following Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty’s first-round defeat in the men’s doubles event on Tuesday.