Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth notched up comfortable victories over their respective opponents to make an impressive start at the BWF World Championship here on Tuesday.
Saina, who won a silver and bronze in the earlier editions of the championship, defeated Turkey’s Aliye Demirbag 21-17 21-8 in the second round to set up a pre-quarterfinal clash with 2013 champion Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand. The Olympic medallist Indian had received a bye in the first round.
Fifth seed Srikanth dispatched Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen 21-15 21-16 in his campaign opener to join compatriots HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and B Sai Praneeth, who received a walkover after his opponent, Korea’s Son Wan Ho, pulled out in the second round.
Srikanth, who won four titles last season, will face Spain’s Pablo Abian next, while Praneeth will meet another spaniard, Luis Enrique Penalver.
“It was a good first outing for me. My body feels good and that is all that matters to me, not thinking about anything else. The conditions are different. There is lot of drift here. So I took time to adjust to the conditions,” Srikanth said after the match.
“I will be better tomorrow when I play Pablo. It will be a tough match, so will give my best.”
In other matches, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa staved off a challenge from 15th seeded German pair of Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, registering a 10-21 21-17 21-18 win to enter the mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.
Satwik and Ashwini will face seventh seeded Malaysian pair of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai.
“We got a lot of service errors, so don’t know how it works. We are just happy to pull it off. We were not lacking in confidence but I guess the feeling was a bit less today. Next we are playing a pair we lost to in Commonwealth Games, so hope to take it point by point tomorrow,” Ashwini said after the mixed doubles match.
Later, Ashwini paired up N Sikki Reddy in the women’s doubles first round match to beat the Taipei duo of Chiang Kai Hsin and Hung Shih Han 19-21 21-10 21-17.
In another women’s doubles match, Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram crashed out of the tournament after losing to the Dutch duo of Debora Jille and Imke van der Aar 15-21 21-19 18-21.
Russian Open silver medallists Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg also went down 12-21 12-21 against the sixth seeded husband-wife English combination of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock in another mixed doubles second-round match.
The promising men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok also couldn’t cross the opening hurdle, losing 14-21 15-21 to the Malaysian pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
The top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also gave a poor account of themselves as they lost 16-21 4-21 to 12th seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
Tarun Kona and Saurabh Sharma also fell in the men’s doubles first round, losing 20-22 21-18 17-21 to Hong Kong’s Or Chin Chung and Tang Chun Man in a hard-fought battle.
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