Malaysia Masters: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu Reach Quarter-final, Sameer Verma and HS Prannoy Bow Out
Malaysia Masters 2020: Saina Nehwal put up a good show to beat South Korea's young sensation An Se Young and enter quarter-finals.
Saina Nehwal (L) and PV Sindhu. (Photo Credit: BWF)
Kuala Lumpur: Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu entered the quarter-finals of Malaysia Masters with straight-games wins over South Korea's teen sensation An Se Young and Japan's Aya Ohori, respectively, on Thursday. Saina reached her first quarter-final since French Open in October, 2019.
Saina beat Young 25-23, 21-12 in 39 minutes in the second round to set up a quarter-final clash against Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin, who earlier defeated Chinese Cai Yan Yan 21-16, 21-18 in 46 minutes.
With the win over Young, Saina levelled their head-to-head record to 1-1. Saina had last lost to South Korea in the French Open quarter-final 20-22, 21-23.
Sindhu swatted aside Ohori 10-21, 15-21 in just 30 minutes to make the last 8. This was Sindhu's ninth straight win over the Japanese and the Indian has never lost a match to her.
Sindhu will take on either world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan or seventh seed South Korean Sung Ji Hyun in the quarter-finals.
India's challenge in men's singles got over as Sameer Verma fell to Malaysia Lee Zii Jia 19-21, 20-22 in 52 minutes while HS Prannoy lost 14-21, 16-21 in 45 minutes to world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan.
Saina came up with a good strategy against the South Korean, where she displayed her full-range of all-court play to constantly move around Young and tire her young legs.
Saina herself seemed at the top of her movement, covering the court extremely well and looking fit enough to engage in long rallies and play a long match, if required.
Saina also used a number of deceptive strokes against Young to match the South Korean's array of strokes and played an impeccable net game to come out victorious.
The match started on an even note but Young then took three straight points to take 6-3 lead. However, Saina replied with four straight points to take a 7-6 lead.
With Saina leading 10-8, Young won four points in a row to go into a 12-10 lead. But Saina did not let her run away and instead showed her strokeplay to lead 15-13.
It was then that Young took control of the proceedings and sent a wave of on-the-line drops and opened up the court to bring up five straight points and take an 18-15 lead.
Saina, however, took control back from the South Korean and brought up a game point, which was saved by Young. Saina's two game points were saved while the Indian also saved two of Young's game points before sealing the first game in her third opportunity.
The second game started on a more even note but Young then took a 9-7 lead. However, it was at this point that Saina pulled away in the match, bringing up six straight points to take a 13-9 lead.
The South Korean started looking a bit tired and looked short of concentration as Saina played her around the court. Young's mistakes coupled with the instinctive and attacking play helped Saina bring up the victory.
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