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Malaysia Open: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth advance into the semi-finals

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Ace Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth marched their way into the semi-finals of the $700,000 Malaysia Open badminton tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

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Both Sindhu and Srikanth earned straight-game victories and while the Rio Olympics medallist defeated former World No. 1 Carolina Marin 22-20, 21-19 in 53 minutes, fourth seeded Srikanth dumped Frenchman Brice Leverdez 21-18 21-14 in a game that lasted just 39 minutes at the Axiata Arena.

Third seed Sindhu needed just 53 minutes to overcome the reigning Olympic Champion in the women’s singles quarter-final, notching up her fifth victory in 11 meetings over the Spaniard. It was also her third win in the last four matches between the two.

She will next take on top seed and World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, who beat local player Goh Jin Wei 21-15, 21-15 to advance. Ying incidently has a remarkable 8-3 advantage over the Indian and has beaten sindhu in all of their last four meetings. The last time Sindhu beat the top ranked player was at the Rio Olympics in 2016, enroute to her final appearance.

Meanwhile, World No. 7 Srikanth came back from behind to defeat the 22nd ranked Leverdez and advance into the semis. It was the Frenchman however who began well taking a 8-5 lead before Srikanth bounced back to eventually take a 11-9 lead at the break.

Leverdez fought to level the game at 12-12 but the Indian once again stormed ahead to lead by three points standing at 17-14. Although the French drew parity at 17-17, Srikanth faced little difficulty in pocketing the first game 21-18.

The second set began in a similar manner and both the shutters gave each other a tough competition moving together till 5-5 but Srikanth then moved to a different class and eventually won 21-14.

He will next face 2015 World Championship bronze medallist Kento Momota in the semis, who ousted Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei 21-19, 21-11 to progress to the next round.

Also read: Saina Nehwal knocked out of Malaysian Open

The 23-year-old and former World No. 1 has been in fine form ever since returning from a one-year suspension handed by the 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.

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