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HS Prannoy enters quarterfinals of Malaysia Open

Star Indian shuttler HS Prannoy dished out another splendid show to progress to the men’s singles quarterfinals with a thrilling win over Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament here on Thursday.

The World number 8 Indian looked in fine fettle as he staved off the spirited challenge from world number 19 Chico 21-9 15-21 21-16 in an hour and four minutes. The 30-year-old from Kerala will take on either Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong or Japan’s Kodai Naraoka next.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand fought hard before going down 13-21 21-15 17-21 to Bulgaria’s Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva in the women’s doubles pre-quarterfinals.

For Prannoy, it was his second meeting with Chico, who had defeated him at the 2018 Syed Modi International.

In the form of his life, Prannoy made a good start, showing better control and his attack also earned him dividends as he led 7-5 before grabbing a 11-5 cushion at the interval. With Chico struggling with the drifty conditions, Prannoy ran away with the opening game.

After the change of ends, Chico showed better control as he eked out a 6-2 lead following a net exchange with his opponent. The Indonesian seemed to attack more and soon moved to a 11-5 lead at the interval.

Both players looked to push each other in the rallies but Prannoy made errors in his finishing as Chico marched to 17-11 with a reverse slice. The Indonesian soon roared back into contest after converting five game points.

In the decider, Prannoy was all fired up as he landed some precise returns on the lines to move to 5-2. He managed to keep his rival moving to and fro with his angled returns, extracting errors to take a handsome five-point lead at the break.

Prannoy was spot on with his shot selection, landing his straight and cross court smashes away from his diving opponent to accumulate points.

Chico played some lovely shots but he was inconsistent during the rallies as Prannoy established his five-point advantage at 17-12 . Another razor sharp straight jump smash followed by another shot at the backline gave Prannoy six match points.

The Indonesian saved two before sending one to the net as Prannoy celebrated.

Treesa, Gayatri go down narrowly

Earlier, Treesa and Gayatri, ranked 16th in the world, went down narrowly to the world No. 14 Stoeva sisters in a match that clocked an hour and nine minutes.

The Stoeva sisters, who competed at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, were clearly the better players in the opening game as they quickly jumped to a 6-0 lead and then held their fort, despite a mini fightback from the Indians, who brought the equation down to 9-12 at one stage.

The second game was a tight affair as Treesa and Gayatri kept breathing down their opponent’s neck before breaking off at 14-14 to take the match to the decider.

In the third game, the Indian pair had slender leads of 6-4 and 14-13 but the Bulgarian combination didn’t relent this time, moving ahead from 14-14 to seal the contest.

Treesa and Gayatri will meet France duo of Margot Lambert and Anne Tran in their next tournament at India Open Super 750 next week.

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