Saina Nehwal starts campaign on a winning note, to face Malvika Bansod next; Lakshya, Prannoy, Tanya move up

Fourth seed Saina Nehwal won the first round against Tereza Švabikova of Czech Republic (Picture courtesy: BAI)
Fourth seed Saina Nehwal won the first round against Tereza Švabikova of Czech Republic (Picture courtesy: BAI)
Suhas Nayse

Saina Nehwal marked her comeback with a win at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Former champion Saina Nehwal, youngsters Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap, Tanya Hemanth and Keyura Mopati carved out contrasting wins on the second day of the tournament.

Fourth seed Saina advanced after Czech Republic’s Tereza Svabikova retired at the start of the second game with the Indian star leading 22-20, 1-0.

The main focus of the second day’s play was on how Saina would perform against Svabikova as she was returning from an injury lay-off.

World No. 25 Saina began well as she raced to a 7-2 lead. The 31-year-old Olympic bronze medallist then consolidated her position at 16-10 before her tentative move to the forecourt meant that Svabikova could start controlling the rallies. World No. 142 Svabikova won eight of the next nine points to take the lead for the first time in the game.

The Czech girl then earned her first game point and it looked like Saina was feeling the heat. But the Indian used her experience to level the scores with some deft net play and then won the next two points to pocket the game.

Just as the match was warming up, Svabikova suffered a back injury on the very first point of the second game. She retired as she could not even stand on her feet and had to be stretchered out.

Saina Nehwal saddened by Svabikova's injuries

While Saina felt sad for Svabikova, she was happy to get another match to play on Thursday. Saina is also looking to find her rhythm after multiple issues with her right knee forced her to pull out of the World Championships last month.

“For me, match practice is lacking… She was giving me a good fight but unfortunately she got injured and had to give up,” said Saina, who started training only over a week ago and believes she needs more time to be fully match fit."
Nagpur shuttler Malvika Bansod beat Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18, 21-9 in the first round (Picture courtesy: BAI)
Nagpur shuttler Malvika Bansod beat Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18, 21-9 in the first round (Picture courtesy: BAI)

Saina to face Malvika Bansod in second round

Former world No. 1 Saina will now clash with compatriot Malvika Bansod in the second round. Southpaw Bansod got the better of Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18, 21-9.

Bansod, who recently won the All India Senior ranking tournament in Hyderabad, struggled to take control of the rallies in the opening game against Samiya. 18-year-old Samiya ran her close until the first mid-game interval.

But just when it looked like the match could go down to the wire, the Nagpur girl started to become more aggressive and bagged the first game. The second game was then a cakewalk for the India No. 2 Malvika.

Aakarshi Kashyap thumped Goa’s Anura Prabhudesai 21-14, 21-14 in the opening round. Chhattisgarh’s Aakarshi will now face Keyura Mopati, who edged past Smit Toshniwal, 15-21, 21-19, 21-8 in a marathon encounter that lasted 70 minutes.

Teenage sensation Tanya Hemanth rallied back splendidly to oust C Sai Uttejitha Rao 9-21, 21-12, 21-19 in the first round. World No. 161 Tanya showed tremendous character after losing the first game to post a hard-fought win in 44 minutes.

The Bengaluru girl will now lock horns with Lauren Lam of the USA, ranked 96 in the world.

HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Mithun Manjunath advance in men’s singles

Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy and Mithun Manjunath registered victories to reach the second round of the tourney, which is part of the BWF World Tour 500 series.

In men’s singles first round matches, Prannoy downed Spaniard Pablo Abian 21-14, 21-7, while Mithun Manjunath got the better of France’s Arnaud Merkle 21-16, 15-21, 21-10. Prannoy will next face Mithun, who was made to work hard by Merkle.

Third seed Lakshya Sen prevailed over Adham Hatem Elgamal of Egypt 21-15, 21-7 in just 25 minutes.

India Results (Round 1)

Men’s singles

3-Lakshya Sen bt Adham Hatem Elgamal (Egypt) 21-15, 21-7 (25 minutes)

8-HS Prannoy bt Pablo Abian (Spain) 21-14, 21-7 (33 minutes)

Mithun Manjunath bt Arnaud Merkle (France) 21-16, 15-21, 21-10 (66 minutes)

Rahul Yadav C gets a walkover from Luís Enrique Penalver (Spain)

Ajay Jayaram lost to Nhat Nguyen (Ireland) 21-19, 7-21, 14-21 (55 minutes)

Priyanshu Rajawat lost to Lucas Claerbout (France) 21-15, 17-21, 14-21 (69 minutes)

Women’s singles

4-Saina Nehwal bt Tereza Švabikova (Czech Republic) 22-20, 1-0 (Retired) (18 minutes)

Malvika Bansod bt Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18, 21-9 (34 minutes)

Aakarshi Kashyap bt Anura Prabhudesai 21-14, 21-14 (31 minutes)

Keyura Mopati bt Smit Toshniwal 15-21, 21-19, 21-8 (70 minutes)

Tanya Hemanth bt C Sai Uttejitha Rao 9-21, 21-12, 21-19 (44 minutes)

Men’s doubles

2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Ravi-Chirag Arora 21-14, 21-10 (35 minutes)

Sanjai Srivatsa Dhanraj-Siddarth Elango bt Vikrant Chawat-Pankaj Naithani 21-11, 21-15 (24 minutes)

Shyam Prasad-S Sunjith (Jr) bt Akshay Kadam-Raju Mohamed Rehan 21-8, 21-17 (27 minutes)

Vaibhaav-Nithin HV bt Mohanraj Elumalai-Velavan Vasudevan 21-14, 21-17 (21 minutes)

Gaurav Deswal-Shubham Yadav bt Ayush Makhija-Venkat Gaurav Prasad 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 (47 minutes)

7-Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost to Hee Yong Kai Terry-Loh Kean Hean (Singapore) 16-21, 16-21 (28 minutes)

Aravind Kongara-Venkatesh Prasad lost to 8-Fabien Delrue-William Villeger (France) 7-21, 7-21 (22 minutes)

Hruitvik Ambekar-Apoorva Javadekar lost to Joshua Magee-Paul Reynolds (Ireland) 6-21, 10-21 (18 minutes)

Women’s doubles

2-Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy bt Janani Aannthakumar-Divya R Balasubramanian 21-7, 19-21, 21-13 (38 minutes)

8-Ashwini Bhat K-Shikha Gautam bt Daksha Gautam-Anubha Kaushik 21-4, 21-4 (20 minutes)

Srivedya Gurazada-Ishika Jaiswal bt Megha Morchana Bora-Leela Lakshmi Rachapalli 21-9, 21-7 (19 minutes)

Ramya Venkatesh C-Apeksha Nayak bt Ch. Poornima-Vanshika Kapila 21-11, 21-10 (29 minutes)

Anuriya Das-Sanghamitra Saikia gets a walkover from Sanyogita Ghorpade-Prajakta Sawant

Shenan Christian-Lavanya Sharma lost to Ekaterina Malkova-Anastasiia Shapovalova (Russia) 7-21, 8-21 (22 minutes)

Lovely-Krati Saraswat lost to 3-Anastasiia Akchurina-Olga Morozova (Russia) 2-21, 1-21 (17 minutes)

Mixed doubles

Akshan Shetty-Simran Singhi bt Anubhav Saxena-Sanghamitra Saikia 21-11, 21-12 (25 minutes)

Nithin HV-Ashwini Bhat K bt Sankar Prasad Udayakumar-Khushi Gupta 21-17, 15-21, 21-12 (46 minutes)

Kashish Sharma-Saruni Sharma bt Kirtesh Dhindhwal-Daksha Gautam 21-17, 21-14 (31 minutes)

Ayush Makhija-Deeksha Choudhary bt Gaurav Deswal-Anubha Kaushik 21-12, 21-17 (27 minutes)

Aju Mohamed Rehan-Jamaludeen Anees Kowsar lost to 5-Chan Peng Soon-Valeree Siow (Malaysia) 4-21, 9-21 (20 minutes)

Vishal Thakran-Hazel Sehrawat lost to 6-Adham Hatem Elgamal-Doha Hany (Egypt) 6-21, 14-21 (20 minutes)

T Hema Nagendra Babu-Srivedya Gurazada lost to Hee Yong Kai Terry-Tan Wei Han (Singapore) 12-21, 17-21 (26 minutes).

Edited by S Chowdhury
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