Prannoy enters final, Sindhu loses in Malaysia Masters

PTI, May 27, 2023, 5:15 PM IST

Image credit: AP / PTI / File

Kuala Lumpur: Star Indian shuttler HS Prannoy entered the men’s singles final of the Malaysia Masters after his opponent Christian Adinata of Indonesia conceded the semifinal match following a nasty knee injury here on Saturday.

World number 9 Prannoy was leading 19-17 when Adinata lost his footing while landing after a jump return and his left knee buckled, leaving the Indonesian shuttler grimacing in pain.

The 21-year-old Adinata, a 2019 World Junior Championships winner, was quickly attended by Prannoy and the Indonesian coach before being eventually wheeled out of the court.

Prannoy will now take on the winner of the other semifinal match between China’s Weng Hong Yang and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chun-Yi in the final on Sunday.

It will be Prannoy’s first final of the season and second, since the runner-up finish at the Swiss Open last year. Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu, however, couldn’t make it to the women’s singles finals after suffering a 14-21 17-21 loss to Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. It was a second successive loss for Sindhu following seven wins against the tricky world number 9 Indonesian.

It was a one-way traffic for Prannoy, who was off to a flying start, leading 11-1 in a jiffy. However after the break, it was Aditana, who accumulated points in buckets, taking seven of the next nine points. A jump cross court smash helped Prannoy find his confidence back but unforced errors and Adinata also playing some smart shots saw the Indonesian making it 10-14.

Adinata was quick in his returns and played a few cross court winners and a body smash. An on-the-line return on the backline saw him make it 14-15 before he drew parity at 16-16 when Prannoy went wide again.

Prannoy dominated the short exchanges next to lead 19-17 before the match ended abruptly following the injury to Adinata.

Sindhu finds Tunjung too hot to handle ======================== A two-time former winner here, Sindhu couldn’t play her aggressive game with Tunjung managing to keep control of the rallies with her solid defence and produce her tricky strokes to finish points.

The Indian took a 3-0 lead early on but it soon evaporated with Tunjung producing some exquisite shots to turn the tables.

The Indonesian tried to drag Sindhu from corner to corner to lead 6-4. But she hit wide and Sindhu also hit a delectable reverse slice to make it 6-6.

Tunjung tried to mix her strokes to keep Sindhu guessing but the Indian defended well to hold her fort, moving to 9-7. She entered the break at 11-8 with a straight smash and a body return.

However, things changed after the change of sides. A flat forehand punch clear helped Tunjung draw parity before she quickly moved to 15-12 with a series of attacking returns. Another straight smash from Tunjung was followed by a winner from Sindhu but the Indonesian held the momentum with some attacking winners. Tunjung grabbed six game points with Sindhu finding the net and she converted it with another winner.

The second game started on an even keel before Tunjung suffered an injury on his forehand at 5-5. But it had no effect on the Indonesian, who kept things under control to enter the break with an 11-9 cushion.

Coach Vidhi Chaudhary kept motivating Sindhu but it didn’t have much effect on the Indian as Tunjung continued to make life difficult for her.

The Indonesian looked a bit tired and made some errors but she didn’t allow the match to slip away. She soon grabbed six match points after Sindhu erred again. The Indian saved three with two cross-court returns. However, Sindhu missed the net shot after another engrossing rally to sign off at the semifinal stage.

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