India Open 2018: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth win; HS Prannoy exits
While Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth’s campaigns got off to a smooth start at the $350,000 Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open 2018, HS Prannoy bowed out of this BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament held in New Delhi on Wednesday. Prannoy, who is suffering from a bad foot corn, could hardly move and slumped to a 4-21, 6-21 loss to the 167th ranked Shreyansh Jaiswal.
There were no such problems for two-time winner Nehwal, who cruised to a 21-15, 21-9 win over the 55th ranked Sofie Holmboe Dahl of Denmark. The 21-year-old Danish girl kept the first game very competitive till 10-10 after which the former World No. 1 raised her level and ran away to the win in 41 minutes.
The 27-year-old is trying to reach a BWF final for two weeks in a row, having been a runner-up at the Indonesia Masters last week.
Defending champion PV Sindhu had an even easier time on the court. She justified her top billing at this tournament with an effortless 21-10, 21-13 win over the 43rd ranked Natalia Koch Rohde in 33 minutes.
Kidambi Srikanth, who won this event in 2015, faced some stiff resistance from the 43rd ranked Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong before posting a 21-17, 21-18 win. This was Srikanth’s first match of the new season.
Sameer Verma upsets seventh seed
Syed Modi International champion Sameer Verma delighted fans at the Siri Fort Sports Complex with a thunderous performance that sent the seventh seed Anders Antonsen packing in the first round. The World No. 30 needed 45 minutes to dismiss the 12th ranked Dane 22-20, 21-8.
Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth, who is seeded eighth, had to battle hard for a 21-11, 17-21, 21-17 win over the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph. It took the Pullela Gopichand protégé 1 hour 1 minute to grab the confidence-boosting win.
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap beat the 17th ranked Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-14, 21-18. But Sourabh Verma was not so lucky and went down 19-21, 11-21 to the fourth seeded Shi Yuqi. Ajay Jayaram, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, could not continue his match and retired trailing 0-2 to Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.
Qualifier Kartikey Gulshan Kumar edged Subhankar Dey 21-17, 14-21, 21-13 to advance to Round 2.
In women’s singles, Tata Open champion Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, Aakarshi Kashyap and Mugdha Agrey all made it through to the second round.
Rankireddy and Shetty win
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who reached the men’s doubles semi-finals of the Indonesia Masters last week, continued their fine run with a 21-18, 21-14 win over the Hong Kong pair of Chang Tak Ching and Hee Chun Mak.
National men’s doubles champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy joined them in Round 2 after prevailing over compatriots Adarsh Kumar and Jagadish Yadav 21-7, 21-13.
The India No. 1 women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy was too powerful for Indian qualifiers Shenan Christian and Riya Gajjar. The sixth seeds emerged 21-9, 21-11 winners in just 22 minutes.
Seventh seeds Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram carved out a 21-12, 21-12 over the unseeded Indian duo of Saruni Sharma and Mayuri Yadav.
In mixed doubles, the eighth seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy came back from a game down for a 16-21, 21-17, 21-17 win over Indonesians Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja. National champions Rankireddy and Ponnappa thrashed fellow Indians Raju Mohamed Rehan and J Anees Kowsar 21-9, 21-10.
Iceland International champions Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg extended their winning streak after beating Yehezkiel Fritz Mainaky and Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky 21-16, 21-13.