Sibu (Malaysia), Jan 18: India’s B. Sai Praneeth and the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the $120,000 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here on Wednesday.

Praneeth got past Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-13, 21-13 in 44 minutes in the first round.

Ashwini-Sikki took only 25 minutes to ease past Germany’s Johanna Goliszewski and Lara Kaepplein 21-15, 21-12.

In the men’s singles category, Danish reignging world champion Viktor Axelsen became the sole survivor among the top players as China’s Lin Dan, Chen Long, South Korea’s Son Wan-ho and Malaysian veteran Lee Chong Wei were eliminated in the first round, reports Xinhua news agency.

Lin Dan lost 16-21, 21-18 and 17-21 to Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia while Lee Chong Wei ended a 78-minute struggle losing to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-19, 18-21, 19-21.

Rio Olympic champion Chen Long admitted that his 17-21, 15-21 loss to Anthony Sinisuka Ginting was due to the effect of an early foul, but vowed to come back in a better shape in the Malaysia Open in June.

Another upset on the day saw South Korean fourth seed Son Wan-ho losing 15-21, 13-21 to Daren Liew of Malaysia.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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