Sameer Verma provided the first major upset at the India Open beating 4th seed Son Wan Ho in straight sets on Day 1 of the India Open. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, too, booked a place in the next round with comfortable wins to keep the hopes of a dream quarter-final between the duo alive in Delhi.
The first game proved to a close encounter with both Sameer and Son not giving away any cheap points. The biggest difference in the game remained at 3 points till 13-13 when Sameer jumped to life winning eight of the last 11 points to close out the game at 21-17. The Indian carried the momentum into the second game as well taking an 11-5 lead at the midway point. He eventually closed out the game at 21-10 to set a match against 35-year-old veteran Hu Yun.
Saina Nehwal took just 35 minutes to breeze past Taiwanese teenager Lee Chia-Hsin to advance to the round of 16. The 19-year-old started well and took a 2-1 lead but once Saina leveled the score a point later, she managed to see out the game comfortably by a score of 21-10. The second game proved to be a much closer contest but it never looked like Saina was going to face too much trouble winning the game and the match 21-17.
PV Sindhu got her campaign off to the perfect start with a comfortable win over compatriot Arundhati Pantawane in straight sets. Despite trailing 1-4 in the initial stages of the first game, Sindhu found her rhythm as the game went on and didn’t look back after taking the lead just before the interval. She saw out the first game 21-17 before outclassing her opponent 21-6 in the second game to advance to the next round.
Sai Praneeth, on the other hand, was taken the distance by Kenta Nishimoto of Japan before the Indian prevailed by a score of 16-21, 21-12, 21-19 in a thrilling encounter. Sourabh Verma too, eased past compatriot HS Prannoy 21-13, 21-16 in straight games while Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy beat the Brit pairing of Gabrielle Adcock and Jessica Pugh 21-16, 21-16 to advance.
But it wasn’t all good news for Indian shuttlers as men’s top seeds Ajay Jayaram and HS Prannoy were shown the exit in the very first round. Tanvi Lad was forced to retire due to injury while another 47 local players failed to qualify for the next round of matches.