Bangkok, Jan 13 (IANS) Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Kidambi Srikanth cruised into the second round of the Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament on Wednesday.
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 throughout and will now face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
The match was a level contest in the early exchanges but after 4-4, Saina pulled away. 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.
Srikanth will now face either compatriot H.S. Prannoy or Malaysian Lee Zii Jia, who play their first round fixtures later on Wednesday.
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.