PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth storm into Malaysia Open badminton semis
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth came out with their best on Friday to earn straight-game victories and enter the semi-finals of the $700,000 Malaysia Open badminton tournament in Bukit Jalil, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.
Third seed Sindhu displayed exemplary skill, patience and grit to outclass reigning Olympic champion and former World No.1 Carolina Marin of Spain 22-20, 21-19 in 53 minutes in the women’s singles quarterfinal.
This was Olympic silver medallist Sindhu’s fifth win over the former World Champion in 11 meetings and third in the last four.
The Hyderabadi will next take on top seed and World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, who has a remarkable 8-3 advantage in career meetings and has beaten the Indian in their last four matches. The last time Sindhu won against the Chinese Taipei girl was at the 2016 Rio Olympics two years back.
Srikanth in prime form
Srikanth too continued his impressive run, progressing to the men’s singles last four by beating France’s Brice Leverdez in the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament.
Fourth seed Srikanth, who won a silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, dumped World No.22 Leverdez 21-18, 21-14 in a 39-minute clash at the Axiata Arena. The Indian bettered his head-to-head to 2-0 against the Frenchman.
The 25-year-old will take on former World No.2 and 2015 World Championship bronze medallist Kento Momota, who has been in sensational form ever since making a comeback after serving a one-year ban by Japan Badminton Association for gambling at an illegal casino in 2015.
Momota clinched the Macau Open and Dutch Open last year besides reaching the finals at Canada Open. He won the 2018 Asia Badminton championship and was also unbeaten at the Thomas Cup.
Srikanth will have a tough task at hand as Momota will be extra motivated to earn back his respect as it was here two years ago that he had to concede a second round match after the news of him and compatriot Kenichi Tago gambling at an illegal casino broke out.
Srikanth erased a 5-8 deficit to grab a 11-9 lead at the break. Leverdez clawed back at 12-12 but the Indian again marched ahead to grab a 17-14 advantage. The French again drew parity at 17-17 before Srikanth surged to pocket the opening game.
In the second game, Srikanth and Leverdez fought till 5-5 before the Indian first grabbed a 11-5 lead and then kept his nose ahead to comfortably shut the doors on his rival.
(With inputs from agencies)