Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma led a positive start for India at the Korea Masters World Tour Super 300 tournament by progressing to the men’s singles second round in Gwangju on Wednesday.
Srikanth got the better of Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent 21-18 21-17 in 37 minutes. He thus extended his dominating head-to-head record against Vincent to 11-3.
He now next faces Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama in the second round on Thursday. Tsuneyama beat Lu Chia-Hung of Chinese Taipei 21-11, 21-10 in his opening round fixture.
Sameer didn’t have to go the distance in his match as his opponent Kazumasa Sakai of Japan retired midway through the first game with the Indian leading 11-8.
But it was curtains for Sourabh Verma who exited after losing to home favourite Kim Donghun. After losing the first game 13-21, the Indian made a strong comeback to draw level pocketing the next 21-12. However, Donghun, jolted by the second game, summoned his best to outclass Sourabh 21-13 and march ahead.
Sameer will now face Donghun in the second round.
Since his runners-up finish at the India Open earlier this year, Srikanth has had to endure a tough time but a semi-final appearance at the Hong Kong Open last week came as a timely confidence booster for the star shuttler.
There’s no participation from the India in women’s singles after Saina Nehwal pulled out of the event. In the doubles competition too there’s no Indian representation.