Some Indian shuttlers registered strong performances in their first match.

There were several mixed results for the Indian contingent on the second day of Yonex Thailand Open. Former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth grabbed the headlines by defeating fellow countryman Sourabh Verma in straight sets, while Saina Nehwal beat Malaysia’s Kisona Selvaduray to book her place into the second round of the tournament.

Both players gave solid performances upon their comeback from the Covid-19 pandemic. World No. 14 Srikanth emerged victorious with scores of 21-12, 21-11 and Saina thrashed Selvaduray 21-15, 21-15 in just 36 minutes.

Srikanth asserted his dominance right from the offset with some fantastic strokes. He gained the maximum of nine consecutive points in the first game and was comfortably leading 11-5 at the halfway stage. Verma climbed back after a brief dry spell but Srikanth had already ensured sufficient lead to sail through the first set.

Similarly, he was leading 7-3 in the second game but then won 10 consecutive points to bring the score to 17-3 and completely tilt the scales in his favour. Verma managed to bring the scores to 16-8 but Srikanth collected the final points quite conveniently to claim the victory in 31 minutes in his first match of the Thailand Open.

Nehwal also looked in top form as she swiftly took a 3-0 lead at the start of the first game. Selvaduray tried to fight back but the star Indian shuttler ensured that she remains in lead by 11-5 at the break. She then took total control of the game and cruised to victory. The second game was no different for Nehwal as she moved her opponent around the court to register a crucial win which will boost her confidence in an Olympic year.

However, Parupalli Kashyap bowed out in the first round courtesy a loss against Canadian international Jason Anthony Ho-Shue. Kashyap went down 0-1 due to a crushing 9-21 defeat in the first game. He bounced back well to win the second set 21-13, however, the player had to concede the third game after being retired hurt with his opponent leading at 14-8. Kashyap had apparently pulled his calf muscle and that brought down curtains to his further hopes in the tournament.

Kidambi Srikanth
Kidambi Srikanth played brilliantly in the match.

Similarly, men singles players Sameer Verma and HS Prannoy lost their opening games and crashed out of the tournament. Verma was handed a 15-21, 17-21 defeat by 26-year-old Indonesian Sheshar Hiren Rhustavito, while Prannoy lost 21-13, 14-21, 8-21 to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia. Verma had matched Rhustavito neck-to-neck in both the games. However, he let the game slip away from his control consecutively and hence missed out on proceeding to the second round.

In men’s doubles, Saisatwikraj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty played a lengthy encounter to secure a 19-21, 21-16, 21-14 victory against the South Korean duo of Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae. The emerging pair put up a valiant effort to come back from a game down to make their way into the second round.

“Lee Yong Dae was an idol for both of us when we were started, so it was excellent playing him today, and we are happy to get the win,” said Satwiksairaj. They will now come up against Indonesian shuttlers Mohammed Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the next round.

However, two other Indian doubles pairs failed to pass through the opening round challenge. Arjun Madathil Ramachandran and Dhruv Kapila were defeated by the Malaysian duo of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 21-13, 8-21, 22-24. Furthermore, B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri lost 19-21, 14-21 to Weeraphat Phakjarung and Wongsathorn Thongkham of Thailand.

In the mixed doubles category, N Sikki Reddy and B Sumeeth Reddy faced a 20-22, 17-21 defeat against Chung Man Tang and Yong Suet Tse.