Madrid Spain Masters: Sindhu, Srikanth progress to the quarterfinals; Malvika gives walkover to Marin

Ace Indian shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the quarterfinals of the Madrid Spain Masters badminton tournament with straight-game victories in their respective singles matches on Thursday.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu, moved passed Putri Kusuma Wardani of Indonesia 21-16, 21-14 in 36 minutes of play. She will next face Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark, who she defeated in the Tokyo Olympics Round-of-16.

The Indian ace holds a healthy 5-1 head-to-head record against the Danish shuttler. Friday’s quarterfinal will be the pair’s first meeting since their Tokyo Olympics encounter.

Sindhu has been struggling for form this season since making a comeback after a long injury lay-off following her gold medal win in the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

The former world champion, who recently parted ways with her South Korean coach Park Tae-sang, has slipped out of the top 10 in the women’s singles BWF rankings for the first time since November 2016.

On the other hand, Srikanth trounced compatriot Sai Praneeth 21-15, 21-12 to enter the last-eight stage.

Srikanth, seeded fifth in the tournament, have a tough task on the card in the quarterfinal where he will meet the top seed Japanese shuttler Kenta Nishimoto, who was handed a walkover by Frenchman Arnaud Merkle in the second round.

In other actions, Kiran George, Priyanshu Rajawat and Sameer Verma, Ashmita Chaliha crashed out after suffering second-round losses.

George suffered a 17-21, 12-21 loss at the hands of Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen in 31 minutes, while Rajawat was beaten by eighth seed Toma Junior Popov of France 14-21, 15-21. Verma lost 15-21, 14-21 against second-seeded Japanese Kanta Tsuneyama in the men’s singles.

In the women’s singles, Chaliha went down to Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min 15-21, 15-21, while Malvika Bansod gave a walkover to home favourite and Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin.

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