Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Ajay Jayaram reached the prequarterfinals of the season-opening Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold after notching up contrasting wins in women’s and men’s singles competition respectively here on Wednesday.
Top seed Saina, who is desperatley looking for a win to boost her confidence after recovering from a knee surgery which derailed her Rio Olympics campaign lat year, spanked Thailand’s Chasinee Korepap 21-9 21-8 in a lop-sided contest.
The 26-year-old Indian, who clinched the Australian Open last year before injuring her knee just ahead of the Olympics, will face Indonesia’s Hanna Ramadini next.
Sixth seed Jayaram, who has been in good form at the Premier badminton League, eked out a 21-10 17-21 21-14 win over Malaysia’s Jun Hao Leong in the opening round before mauling Indonesia’s Saputra Vicky Angga 21-9 21-12 in the second match. The World No. 19 Indian will next meet Chinese Taipei’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi.
Unheraleded Hemanth M Gowda, meanwhile, suffered a 5-21 19-21 loss against Chun-Wei Chen of Chinese Taipei in another men’s singles competition.
In mixed doubles, newly-formed pair of Manu Attri and Jwala Gutta defeated Indonesian combo of Lukhi Apri Nugroho and Ririn Amelia 21-19 21-18, while women’s doubles pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant saw off Indonesian combo of Aghisna Fathkul Laili and Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella 21-10 21-11. Prajakta along with her Malaysian partner Yogendran Khrishnan also reached the next round of mixed doubles after defeating Hong Kong’s Hee Chun Mak and Yeung Nga Ting 21-14 22-20.
However, B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa suffered a 17-21 17-21 loss against sixth seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia.