New Delhi. Two-time Olympic medalists PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy reached the quarterfinals of the India Open badminton tournament while Saina Nehwal crashed out. Former champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Saina was defeated by Malvika Bansod 21-17, 21-9. Bansod, ranked 111 in the world rankings, took 34 minutes to beat the former world number one. Earlier, top seed Sindhu defeated compatriot Ira Sharma 21-10, 21-10. Now she will face Ashmita Chaliha, who defeated Yaele Hoyau 21-17, 21-14.
Malvika Bansod will face India’s Akarshi Kashyap. Akarshi defeated compatriot Keura Mopatin 21-10, 21-10. Prannoy got a walkover as Mithun Manjunath withdrew from the tournament due to being Corona positive.
In the men’s section, top seed Kidambi Srikanth, doubles players Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Rahul Thakar, Trisa Jolly, Simon Aman Singh and Khushi Gupta withdrew after being found corona positive.
Prannoy will face the winner of the match between Lakshya Sen and Felix Bustet of Sweden. Sameer Verma’s campaign also came to an end in the second round, who left the match against Canada’s Bren Yang midway due to a hamstring strain.
Saina has been my idol from the beginning, victory against her is biggest in my career: Malavika
Young badminton player Malvika Bansod, who grew up watching Saina Nehwal’s game, on Thursday termed her win over the Olympic bronze medalist at the India Open as one of the biggest wins of her career. Malvika said after the match, “I still can’t believe it. It’s a great feeling and I’m really excited after the win.” She said, “She has been my idol as she has been the flag bearer of women’s badminton in India for more than a decade. I started by watching him play and he has a huge influence on my game.”
Malavika said, “I like his style of play. He has a lot of power and that’s why I like his game. Today I played all-round game. There was nothing special in it.” This was the first time that Saina and Malvika were face to face in a major tournament.
Malavika said, “She has always been my idol. So playing against him was like a dream come true and that too on a big stage like Indian Open. This victory came in a Super 500 tournament. This is a big achievement for me. This is one of the biggest wins of my career so far.”
Meanwhile, Saina said that she is happy that she has been able to play two matches even though she is not fully fit right now. Saina said, “Today I was ‘moving’ on the court but my fitness is not what it should have been. I came here to assess my situation. My body is fine but fitness level needs improvement.