Saina Nehwal looked discomforted with her right thigh and retired midway through the opening round match against Mia Blichfeldt at the All England Badminton Championships. She trailed 8-21, 4-10.
World champion PV Sindhu made an impressive start but compatriots Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap suffered early exits after losing their respective opening matches of the men’s singles round.
In men’s singles, world number 15 saw Praneeth off France’s Toma Junior Popov 21-18 22-20, while former top 10 player HS Prannoy brushed Malaysia’s Daren Liew 21-10 21-10. Sameer Verma got the better of Ygor Coelho 21-11 21-19 in Brazil, while teenage Lakshya Sen stunned Thai world number 18 Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-18 21-12 to reach the second round.
Indian women’s duo Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and a pair of men’s doubles from Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also advanced to the second round with straight game wins.
Olympic silver medal winner Sindhu gave a good account of herself as she covered the court well and replaced a disciplined performance to defeat world number 32 Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-11 21-17 in 38 minutes. The fifth seeded Indian will face Christophersen’s Denop Line next. Earlier, Ashwini and Sikki beat Thailand’s Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard 21-14 21-12 in 30 minutes, while sixth seed Satwik and Chirag took 19 minutes to see England’s Nikhar Garg and Aniruddha Mayekar 21-7 21 – from India. 10 in a top-sided contest.
Ashwini and Sikki will face Bulgaria’s sixth seeded Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva next, while Satwik and Chirag will meet the formidable Danish pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, who defeated the Indian duo on the way to their victory in the Open Championship in Switzerland. . In the men’s singles, seeded eight, Srikanth lost to Ireland’s unbeaten player, Nguyen Nhat 11-21 21-15 12-21. His match lasted exactly one hour as the Irish player came back strong after losing the second match against the Indian.
Kashyap, a gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, fought bravely before beating Kento Momota of Japan 13-21 2-22 in a 42-minute seed. After an initial neck-and-neck battle until 7-7, Sindhu went into the break with a three-point advantage. The Indian kept the case under control to eventually wrap up the opening game in 16 minutes. In the second game, Soniia took the lead 10-8 but the Indian grabbed the ante to end the break with a slim 11-10 advantage.
The Malaysian strengthened her defense and managed to catch up at 17-17 with a three-point run. Soniia’s two unforced errors gave Sindhu three game points and she sealed it when the Malaysian went long again. In other results, Malaysian pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi ended the Indian men’s combo campaign of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila with a 21-13 21-12 victory, while Jakkampudi women’s duo Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram also bowed out after a 10-21 15-21 loss to Alexandra Boje of Denmark and Mette Poulsen.
(With inputs from PTI)