In one of the heavyweight clashes of the first round, Pusarla got the better of He Bing Jiao 21-13 17-21 21-15 after doing battle for 57 minutes. It avenged her opening day defeat to the Chinese at the EAST VENTURES Indonesia Open 2022 three weeks ago.
A great start to the decider, which saw the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist race into a healthy 13-3 lead, proved decisive.
“Leading from the beginning helped a lot because although she tried coming back, I was able to stay ahead,” admitted the world No.7, who has now won four of her last five tussles with He.
“You can’t relax until the last minute because she’s a deceptive player. You can’t just say it’s over or you’ve won because it’s never that way.”
Asked how her birthday party went, Pusarla replied: “It was really nice. Of course, I miss my family but my friends (in Kuala Lumpur) celebrated it really well.
“My parents sent me a cake and a lot of people, including my fans did the same so I really enjoyed it. This win is some sort of an early gift because it was against a tough opponent but it’s not yet over. Good start to the celebrations but I wish to do well in this tournament.”
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Meanwhile, men’s singles sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, still waiting for an individual title since winning the Indonesia Masters 2020, does not believe he is on course to ending his drought following the withdrawals of world No.1 Viktor Axelsen and No.5 Lee Zii Jia.
“That’s not how I look at it,” said the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist, who prevailed 8-21 21-14 22-20 against Kenta Nishimoto after wasting four match points.
“Every match is difficult, doesn’t matter who’s left, we all stand the same chance of succeeding. Everyone wants a title, myself included, as it’s been a long time since I got one but my focus is to regain my best form. I got some confidence after the Thomas Cup so I feel I’m on my way there.”