India open: Malvika fells idol, Sindhu keeps it up

20-year-old shows Saina the door

India open: Malvika fells idol,  Sindhu keeps it up

Malvika Bansod beat Saina Nehwal. PTI

New Delhi, January 13

Two-time Olympics medallist PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy advanced to the quarterfinals but the promising Malvika Bansod ended her idol Saina Nehwal’s campaign at the India Open badminton tournament here today.

Former champion and 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Saina suffered a 17-21 9-21 loss to her 20-year-old compatriot Malvika. Malvika, ranked 111th, took 34 minutes to see off the former world No. 1, becoming only the second Indian to beat Saina since 2017 in any international tournament.

“It was my first meeting with Saina. She has been my idol since I started playing,” Malvika said. “So playing against her was a dream come true. One of the biggest wins of my career so far.”

Earlier, top seed Sindhu dispatched fellow Indian Ira Sharma 21-10 21-10. She will next meet compatriot Ashmita Chaliha, who beat Yaelle Hoyaux 21-17 21-14, in the quarters.

Sen also moved into the quarters after defeating Felix Burestedt of Sweden 21-12 21-15. He will take on compatriot HS Prannoy in the last-eight stage. Prannoy received a walkover as Mithun Manjunath withdrew after testing positive for Covid.

Meanwhile, world champion Loh Kean Yew beat Joo Ven Soong 21-12 21-12. — PTI

Covid takes toll

A spate of walkovers has swept the event after men’s top seed Kidambi Srikanth, doubles player Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Thaker, Treesa Jolly, Simran Aman Singh and Khushi Gupta withdrew after testing positive for the virus.

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