Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth have won their respective matches on the opening day of the All England Open Badminton Championship to qualify for the second round of the tournament. PV Sindhu’s defeat against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun was the major setback for India on Day 1.
In the women’s singles game of the championship, Nehwal won against Kristy Gilmour of Scotland in straight games 21-17, 21-18. It started with a close battle between the two shuttlers but the Indian had the lead at the mid-game break with 11-10. However, the fight was not as intriguing in the rest of the first game and Nehwal won it comfortably 21-17. Nehwal dominated the next game as well as the Indian got the better of Gilmour to make it to the next round. She will face Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt next in the championship.
Srikanth also registered a straight games victory by beating Brice Leverdez of France 21-13, 21-11 in 30 minutes. It was all so easy for the Indian to march ahead in the men’s singles category with this dominating performance against the Frenchman as he had an upper edge against his opponent from the beginning of the match. Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia will be the next opponent for Srikanth in the championship. While in another men’s singles match, India’s Sai Praneeth defeated compatriot HS Prannoy in straight games. However, both the games were keenly-fought and even Prannoy was leading at the mid-game break in the first one by 11-9 points. Praneeth, on the other hand, held his nerves taking both the games 21-19, 21-19 to make into the second round.
Meanwhile, the first day in Birmingham was not a great one for another star shuttler PV Sindhu as she went down to Sung Ji Hyun 21-16, 20-22, 21-18 in 81 minutes. Sindhu had to bow out of the championship after the poor show in her first match against the Korean. After the first game was taken away by Sung, Sindhu made a good effort in the second one to come back into the match by winning it by 22-20. However, she couldn’t put up a good show in the decider and lost it by 18-21 points to end her campaign on the very first day.
Sameer Verma also lost his singles game and was knocked out of the tournament. He was up against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and managed to hold the former World Champion till the decider. Verma started quite brilliantly by winning 21-16 in the first game. However, the Danish shuttler made a stunning comeback in the next two games by winning them 21-18, 21-14 to go into the second round.
In the doubles category, India’s women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy were defeated by seventh seeds Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto 21-16, 26-28, 16-21 in 77 minutes while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost their first-round match against Chinese pair Ou Xuanyi and Ren Xiangyu by 19-21, 21-16, 14-21. The duo of Jakkampudi Meghana and S Ram Poorvisha were also defeated in the first round of the competition as the Indian women’s doubles pair lost to Russia’s Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova by 21-18, 12-21, 12-21 points.