Hong Kong Open 2019: PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy advance; Saina Nehwal exits

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu rebounded from a first-round exit at last week's China Open to storm into the second round of the Hong Kong Open with a solid performance on Wednesday. However, curtains came down on the campaign of Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth, both of whom departed the Super 500 tournament in the first round.

Sindhu, a two-time runner-up at this tournament, needed only 36 minutes to get the better of Korea's Kim Ga Eun 21-15, 21-16. The win set up a second-round showdown between the sixth-seeded Indian and Thailand's World No. 18 Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

While Sindhu soared, Nehwal stuttered, losing to rising Chinese star Cai Yan Yan for the second consecutive week. At the Fuzhou China Open last week and at the Hong Kong Open, the London Olympic bronze medallist has been stopped by the World No. 22, who beat the Indian 21-13, 22-20 this time around.

The men, meanwhile, recorded three victories, the biggest highlight of which was Parupalli Kashyap's upset of the World No. 12 Kenta Nishimoto. The former Commonwealth Games champion fought for 1 hour and 10 minutes to dismiss the challenge of the Japanese 21-18, 16-21, 21-10.

HS Prannoy made his comeback from a bout of dengue a memorable one with a strong 21-17, 21-17 win over World No. 29 Huang Yuxiang. Reigning national champion Sourabh Verma knocked out Brice Leverdez 21-11, 21-15.

However, Sourabh's younger brother Sameer battled for 54 minutes only to end up losing to World No. 26 Wang Tzu Wei 11-21, 21-13, 8-21. World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth too succumbed to an opening-round defeat, despite a gutsy fightback. The Indian began on a thunderous note against the third seed Shi Yuqi but eventually went down 21-11, 18-21, 12-21.

Kidambi Srikanth did not even have to take the court as the top seed and World No. 1 Kento Momota handed him a walkover.

A day after attaining their career-best ranking of World No. 7, India's star men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went down 21-17, 16-21, 17-21 to Japan's Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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