Penang, Malaysia: Top Indian shuttlers P V Sindhu and K Srikanth stormed into the pre-quarterfinals of the $120,000 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold with easy victories as they made a rousing start to the new season in Penang on Wednesday.
Two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, Sindhu, seeded third, thrashed Switzerland's Sabrina Jaquet 21-17 21-16 in a women's singles first round contest that lasted 33 minutes to advance the to pre-quarterfinals.
Srikanth, seeded second in the tournament, first brushed aside Malaysia's Wei Feng Chong 21-17 21-11 in his opening men's singles match before notching up another comfortable 21-16 21-15 win against Christie Jonatan of Indonesia to make it to the round of 16.
10th seed Ajay Jayaram also joined Srikanth in the pre-quarterfinals after two straight-set victories. He first sent packing Japan's Takuma Ueda 21-19 21-11 in his opening round match before defeating Petr Koukal of Czech Republic 21-17 21-17 in the second match of the day.
B Sai Praneeth, however, failed to get past the second round as he lost to third seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 14-21 21-10 18-21. The Indian had beaten Malaysia's Shahzan Shah Misfahul 21-13 21-15 in his opening round match.
Another Indian, Sameer Verma also began with a win as he stunned Japan's Sho Sasaki, seeded 12th, 21-18 21-18 but crashed out of the tournament after losing to Huat Soon Goh of Malaysia 21-7 13-21 16-21 in the second round.
New kid on the block, Subhankar Dey, too, notched up a 21-19 21-16 win over Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen in a men's singles first round match.
The Indian women's pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also notched up a win over Malaysian duo of Mei Kuan Chow and Lee Meng Yean 21-14 14-21 25-23 to make their way into the women's doubles pre-quarterfinals.
A little over two weeks after their stints at the Premier Badminton League, Indian shuttlers rushed to participate in the first Grand Prix Gold event of the season and it was a fruitful outing for them today.