Syed Modi International: Prannoy enters second round; Ashmita, Rahul, Shruti test positive for COVID

Prannoy, seeded five, defeated Ukraine’s Danylo Bosniuk 21-14, 21-18 in 36 minutes but the Verma brothers were not so lucky.

File Photo: H. S. Prannoy (in picture) will next face Priyanshu Rajawat.   -  PTI

Covid continued to play havoc with the $150,000 Syed Modi India International badminton tournament after three more players - Ashmita Chaliha, Rahul Yadav and doubles specialist Shruti Mishra - tested positive on the first day of the competition at Lucknow on Tuesday.

The number of withdrawals, across the five sections, is likely to rise with daily Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) scheduled throughout the week.

After a spate of withdrawals left just three seeded in the men’s singles draw, the exit of Verma brothers - Sameer and Saurabh - meant H. S. Prannoy was the only surviving seed midway through the first round.

Prannoy, seeded five, defeated Ukraine’s Danylo Bosniuk 21-14, 21-18 in 36 minutes to enter the second round, but the Verma brothers were not so lucky.

Sameer, seeded four, trailed 2-7 to Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen when he complained of sheen pain and retired. His elder brother Saurabh, seeded seven, surrendered to Azerbaijan’s Ade Resky Dwicahyo.

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Saurabh was leading by a game and 15-11 in the second before Dwicahyo started a stunning comeback and completed a 15-21, 21-19, 21-18 victory.

In the women’s singles, where top seed P. V. Sindhu will take the court on Wednesday, Aakarshi Kashyap defeated Mugdha Agrey 21-13, 21-14.

Meanwhile, the ouster of upcoming talent Ashmita after testing positive for Covid paved Malvika Bansod’s way to the second round.

Malvika, the vanquisher of Saina Nehwal in the India Open last week, will play the winner of Ruthvika Shivani-Prerana Neeluri match.

An official revealed that owing to large-scale last-minute withdrawals, quite a few wait-listed players made the draw but could not reach the city in time. As a result, a few first-round matches, across sections, were rescheduled to accommodate these players.

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