India's PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy continued their magical runs at the Malaysia Masters 2023 badminton championship, storming into the semi-finals with hard-fought victories in the quarter-finals here on Friday.
Sindhu and Prannoy, India's highest-ranked players in the women's and men's singles rankings respectively, were the only Indians remaining in the contention as Kidambi Srikanth's campaign ended in the quarter-finals, losing to Christian Adinata of Indonesia in three games.
Playing on Court 1 at Axiata Arena in the Malaysian capital, two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu won her quarter-final tie in a thrilling match against Zhang Yi Man of China 21-16, 13-21, 22-20. She will next face Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia, who is ranked 9th in the BWF World Rankings, in the semifinals. Georgia stunned China's second-seeded Wang Zhi Yi 21-11, 21-14 in the first women's singles quarter-final of the day.
In the men's singles, Prannoy continued his brilliant run in the BWF World Tour Super 500 event as he defeated Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 25-23, 18-21, 21-13 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, he will face Christian Adinata of Indonesia.
Adinata got the better of India's Kidambi Srikanth, who won the first game and enjoyed a 15-13 lead in a neck-and-neck battle in the second before losing 16-21, 21-16, 11-21 in a 57 minutes encounter in which the Indonesian won 58 rallies as compared to 48 by the Indian.
In their quarter-final clash on Friday, China's Zhang Yi Man got off to a good start and jumped to a 5-0 lead before Sindhu won her first point. However, the Indian shuttler, who won a silver in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and followed it up with a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, came back strongly to level scores at 10-10 before taking the lead.
Sindhu went ahead 15-11 and went on to win the opening game at 21-16. Zhang turned the tables in the second game as she took the lead at 4-3 before extending it to 10-3 and 15-9 as she went on to win the game 21-13.
The 27-year-old Sindhu took an early 5-1 lead but Zhang caught up with her at 12-12. She gained a two-point lead at 15-13. A neck-and-neck battle ensured before Sindhu got her first match point at 20-17. However, the Chinese player was not done yet and tied it at 20-20. But Sindhu won the next two points to win the game 22-20 and the match in 74 minutes.
In their men's singles quarter-final, Prannoy conceded an early 0-3 lead but fought back to level at 5-5. Moshimoto won the next four points to make it 9-5 before the Indians caught up with him again to lead 13-12. The Indian shuttler maintained his lead as they reached 16-13 but his Japanese opponent earned a game point at 20-17. Prannoy saved it and then went on to win 25-23 after a keen tussle.
In the second game, after the two players fought hard for each point and remained neck-and-neck till 9-11, Nishimoto opened a 17-11 lead and though Prannoy cut the gap to 18-19, the Japanese shuttler won the next two points to win the game 21-18.
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In the decider, Prannoy took the lead from 4-all and took the lead at 7-5 and extended it to 11-5. Nishimoto reduced the margin to 10-14, there was no denying Prannoy and the Indians went on to win the game 21-13 and sealed his place in the semi-final.