Bangkok, Jan 22 (IANS) India didn’t have a great start at the Thailand Masters as Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma bowed out of the competition after losing their respective matches in the first round itself on Wednesday.
While, Kidambi lost to Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia, Verma suffered crushing defeat to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia.
Kidambi, the fifth-seeded player, lost 21-12, 14-21, 11-21 to Rhustavito in 48 minutes to make his third straight first round loss of the year. With this loss, his hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics have been further dented.
Srikanth was knocked out of the Indonesia Masters 500 tournament after suffering a first-round defeat to Rhustavito. Before that, he had also made a first-round exit from the Malaysia Masters.
On the other hand, Verma was also outplayed 16-21, 15-21 by Zii Jia in just 38 minutes.
Later in the day, Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy will begin their campaign. While Saina will begin her campaign against Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt, Prannoy will face Malaysia’s Liew Daren in the first round.
Saina and Srikanth are placed at the 22nd and 23rd spots in BWF’s rankings as April 26 has been set as the deadline date for Tokyo Olympics qualification.
As per BWF Olympics qualification regulations, just a couple of shuttlers each from the singles category could qualify if their ranking lies within the top-16.