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India Open Badminton | Sindhu advances, Malvika Bansod knocks Saina Nehwal

Malvika Bansod, ranked 111th, took 34 minutes to see off the former world number 1.

Two-time Olympic medallist shuttler P.V. Sindhu and H.S. Prannoy advanced to the quarterfinals but the promising Malvika Bansod ended her idol Sania Nehwal’s campaign at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open here on Thursday.

Former champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina suffered a 17-21 9-21 straight game loss to her 20-year-old compatriot Malvika.

Malvika, ranked 111th, took 34 minutes to see off the former world number 1.

“It was my first meeting with Saina Nehwal. She has been my idol since I started playing badminton. So playing against her was a dream come true and that too, in the Indian Open, on such a big stage.

“… A Super 500 tournament, it was a big achievement for me, one of the biggest wins of my career so far,” Malvika said after her win.

Coming back from knee and groin injuries, Saina, who had won her first round match on Tuesday, was happy with the her movement on the court but said she had a lot of catching up to do on the fitness front.

“Today I was moving on the court but my fitness is still not where it should be. So I came here to see were I stand. My body is good but fitness level I need to work on,” Saina said, adding, that she Malvika is “very good” in rallies and has a bright future.

Earlier, the top seed Sindhu had no problem dispatching fellow India Ira Sharma 21-10 21-10.

She will meet compatriot Ashmita Chaliha, who got the better of french shuttler Yaelle Hoyaux 21-17 21-14, in the quarterfinal.

Malvika will next take on fellow Indian Aakarshi Kashyap in the quarterfinals.

Aakarshi had defeated compatriot Keyura Mopatin 21-10 21-10 in another women’s singles second round match.

Prannoy received a walkover as his opponent Mithun Manjunath withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.

The men’s top seed Kidambi Srikanth, doubles player Ashwini Ponnappa, Ritika Rahul Thkar, Treesa Jolly, Simran Aman Singh and Khushi Gupta are the other players who had to withdraw from the tournament due to the positive COVID-19 results, which led to several walkovers.

Prannoy will meet the winner of the second round clash between third seed Lakshay Sen and Felix Burstedt of Sweden.

Sameer Verma’s campaign also came to an end in the men’s singles as he retired midway during his second-round match against Brain Yang of Canada due to calf strain.

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