New Delhi: After struggling to find his grove and suffered a first round loss at Malaysia Masters two weeks ago, Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain returned to dominance by making a strong start in the first round of India Open, overcoming World No. 39 Emil Holst of Denmark 21-15, 21-17 in 39 minutes on Wednesday.
However, awaiting the World No. 85 Zulkarnain in the second round will be the World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth of India and the Malaysian, a strong performance or even a win against Srikanth could prove his worth to be listed as the member of the Malaysian Badminton Asian Championships team.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s independent player Daren Liew continued to perform well when he came back from 14-19 in the third set to beat Israeli player Misha Zilberman 21-18, 16-21, 23-21.
Liew who had entered the semi-finals of the Thailand Masters and Malaysia Masters few weeks ago, will meet the third seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan on Thursday.
In the mixed doubles category, the No. 3 seeds Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing who experienced baggage delays and received their rackets only on Tuesday morning, defeated local pair Saurabh Sharma/Anouska Parikh 21-13, 21-14 and will meet another Indian pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa in the second round.
“Our opponents today were not strong but we are expecting a more difficult match tomorrow because Satwiksairaj/Ashwini are more experienced, “said Tan.
Another Malaysian mixed doubles pair, Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai also entered the second round after seeing off Danish pair Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt 21-14, 21-16.
However, Malaysia’s mixed doubles Rio Olympic silver medalists Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying were knocked out of the tournament after going down to Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia 12-21, 21-15, 21-15 in 51 minutes.