Bangkok, Jan 13 (IANS) Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and former world no.1 Kidambi Srikanth cruised into the second round of Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament on Wednesday. While Saina will face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, Srikanth faces Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jial, who beat India’s HS Prannoy in the final match of the day.
Saina registered a 21-15, 21-15 win over Malaysia’s Kisona Selvaduray while Srikanth beat compatriot Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11.
In a match that lasted 36 minutes, Saina was dominant after the score was 4-4 in the first game. Her opponent saved a couple of game points but Saina finished the first game off in 17 minutes. She then raced to a 11-5 lead in the second game and, eventually, saw it through to the end.
Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Srikanth continued the good form he found at the Denmark Open in October as he comprehensively took down Sourabh in 31 minutes. Sourabh’s brother Sameer Verma later lost his first round match to Indonesian Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 21-15, 21-17.
Prannoy lost to Malaysian Lee Zii Jia in 21-13, 14-21, 8-21 in a match that lasted 55 minutes. He was dominant in the first game and controlled much of the first half of the second. However, Jia pulled away after 9-9, soaring to an 18-12 lead. Prannoy could take only two more points in the game before Jia squared it off.
In the decisive third game, Prannoy remained competitive until 7-7, after which Jia won nine consecutive points. Prannoy won one more point and before the Malaysian finished the match.
Star men’s doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy fought back to beat their South Korean opponents Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae 19-21, 21-16, 21-14 in a first-round match that lasted one hour and eight minutes.
Parupalli Kashyap exited from the tournament after he retired in the third game of his first-round clash against Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue owing to a calf injury.
After losing the first game 9-21, Kashyap made a comeback in the second game to clinch it 21-13. The third game saw Ho-Shue lead 14-8, but the Indian decided to retire and as a result, the Canadian progressed to the second round.
MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila narrowly lost their men’s doubles opening round contest 21-13, 8-21, 22-24 to Malaysian pair Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee.
Mixed doubles pair Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy bowed out after losing 20-22, 17-21 to Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet in their first round clash.
On Tuesday, in a dramatic turn of events, Saina Nehwal, Kashyap, and Prannoy were cleared to compete in the tournament, just hours after they were forced to withdraw from the event.
Saina and Prannoy had been forced to withdraw from the tournament after they tested positive for Covid-19. Kashyap, the husband of Saina, also had to withdraw as he was sharing a room with his wife and was asked to self-quarantine.