Thailand Open: Saina loses, Kidambi Srikanth enters second round

Srikanth, seeded eighth in the BWF Super 500 tournament, won the first round match 18-21 21-10 21-16 in 49 minutes.

FILE PHOTO: Srikanth will next face Nhat Nguyen of Ireland.   -  AP

Fresh from playing a major role in India's historic Thomas Cup triumph, ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the men's singles second round of the Thailand Open with a tough three-game win over Brice Leverdez of France here on Wednesday.

Saina Nehwal started on a positive note, taking the opening game 21-11 but a stern fight back from Kim Gaeun ensured a 11-21, 21-15, 21-17 win for the Korean national.

Srikanth, seeded eighth in the BWF Super 500 tournament, won the first round match 18-21, 21-10, 21-16 in 49 minutes.

He next faces qualifier Nhat Nguyen of Ireland, who defeated Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 21-12 23-21 in the first round.

His compatriot Sai Praneeth lost to Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen 12-21, 13-21 in just 44 minutes.

READ | India's Thomas Cup win a result of Gopichand's decade-long effort, says HS Prannoy

The Indian men's team, led by Srikanth, had beaten powerhouse and 14-time champions Indonesia in the final to win the country's maiden Thomas Cup title on Sunday.

However, in the women's singles, Indian qualifier Ashmita Chaliha lost to seventh seeded Ratchanok Intanon of Thaliand 10-21 15-21 in a first round match that lasted 29 minutes.

Compatriot and another qualifier, Aakarshi Kashyap lost to Michelle Li of Canada 13-21 18-21 to bow out of the tournament in the first round.

The mixed doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also suffered a first round exit, losing to the eighth-seeded Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo 17-21 17-21 in 34 minutes.

Other top Indian shuttlers like PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy, who was also a member of the historic Thomas Cup title winning team, will be in action later in the day.

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