BWF World Championships 2019: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu make winning start; Kidambi Srikanth advances
The top Indian women's duo of PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal made a winning start to their title hunt at the BWF World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland on Wednesday as Kidambi Srikanth won his second match at this prestigious tournament to advance to the third round.
After struggling for most of the season, the BWF World Tour Finals champion Sindhu showed sparks of resurgence last month when she made it to the final of the Indonesia Open and backed it up with a run to the quarter-finals in Tokyo. The fifth seed, a silver medallist at the World Championships for the last couple of years, began her quest for the gold in fine fashion when she demolished World No. 45 Pai Yu Po with a sublime 21-14, 21-15 scoreline.
Sindhu has a tough challenge in the third round for she faces her nemesis, the 9th seeded Beiwen Zhang.
Eighth-seeded Saina Nehwal, a silver and a bronze medallist at this marquee event, had been laid low of late by a string of injuries. The former World No. 1 made a comeback at the Thailand Open in July where she suffered an early exit.
Saina refused to show any sign of her physical issues when she began her campaign with a commanding 21-10, 21-11 victory over the 72nd ranked Soraya de Visch Eijbergen of Netherlands.
Saina will take on 12th seed Mia Blichfeldt for a place in the quarter-finals.
A medal at the World Championships has always eluded India's star men's singles shuttler, Kidambi Srikanth. To end the medal drought, the seventh seed needs to find his confidence immediately for he dropped a game for the second time this week on his way to the pre-quarter-finals.
Against the 45th ranked Israeli veteran Misha Zilberman, the Guntur-born ace conceded the first game only to rebound for a 13-21, 21-13, 21-16 win in 57 minutes. With that win, he set up a showdown with 12th seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen.
While the singles exponents thrived on Wednesday, India's challenge came to an end in doubles following the losses suffered by the men's doubles pairs of Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy and MR Arjun-Shlok Ramchandran, and the women's doubles combines of Sikki Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa and Meghana Jakkampudi-Poorvisha S Ram.