Former champions PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the second round, while HS Prannoy also made a strong start to his campaign with a hard-fought win at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open on Wednesday. Sindhu, who reached the finals in the last two editions and won the title in 2017, brushed aside fellow Indian Mugdha Agrey 21-8 21-13 in women’s singles, while a 2015 winner Srikanth recorded his fourth successive win over Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent with a 21-16 18-21 21-19 triumph in men’s singles.
Prannoy also showed good signs of recovering from a gastro-esophageal reflux disease that troubled him last year, notching up a come-from-behind 14-21 21-18 21-14 win over Thailand’s eighth-seeded Kantaphon Wangcharoen. Fifth seed Sameer Verma beat Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke 21-18 21-12, while Riya Mookerjee shocked Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 21-17 21-15 to set up a meeting with Denmark’s eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt, who knocked out Rita Thaker.
Sindhu said it was an easy first-round match for her. “It was comparatively easy for me. Now it is time to focus on next match. After All England I have worked on mental aspect as well physical,” second-seededSindhu said.
Swiss Open finalist B Sai Praneeth recovered from a first-game reversal to outwit compatriot Kartikey Gulshan Kumar 22-24 21-13 21-8 to enter the second round.
After opening the first game, third-seededSrikanth erased an 11-17 deficit to make it 18-19 but couldn’t stop Vincent to bounce back into the contest. In the decider again, the Indian was lagging 1-7 before he equalised at 8-8 with the crowd rooting for him.
Vincent again ran up a 17-11 lead with Srikanth committing simple errors but he recovered in time and grabbed two match points with a precise return and sealed it when the Hong Kong shuttler went wide.
“I have played him 4-5 times after Asian Games. He played well in the econd and third game. I am happy I could pull it off. I made too many simple errors in the decider. We have to be ready for such a fast-paced game,” Srikanth said.
Prannoy had missed a lot of tournaments last year due to the gastro-esophageal reflux disease. He would enter an event and find it difficult to breath properly in long matches but he seemed to have recovered well.
“I have been consulting doctors in the United States,” said Prannoy after the match.
“I can say it has helped me stand in the court right now. Probably 80% of the things have fallen in place. There are areas I have to focus on like the diet plan that has been given to me. I should be much better comparatively in the next 4-5 months.”
Former champions Ratchanok Intanon and Li Xuerui made a good start to their respective campaigns. The fourth-seeded Intanon, who is eyeing a third title at this prestigious event, comfortably beat India’s Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka 21-9, 21-6.
London Olympic gold medallist Xuerui, the winner of this tournament in 2012, overcame a tough opponent in Nitchaon Jindapol with a 21-17, 21-11 scoreline.
Third seed He Bingjiao needed 30 minutes to dismiss India’s Prashi Joshi 21-12, 21-15 and was joined by her compatriot Chen Xiaoxin following her 21-15, 21-11 victory over Yulia Yosephin Susanto.
In doubles, sixth seeds Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy blew away younger countrymen Ravi and Lakshay Saroha 21-14, 21-7. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma, who qualified for the main draw, made short work of Senthil Vel Govindarasu and Vembarasan Venkatachalam 21-13, 21-13.
In women’s doubles, the pairs of Pooja Dandu-Sanjana Santosh and Venkata Ramya Tulasi Bailupudi-Shivani Santosh Singh made it through Round 2.
Key results: HS Prannoy (IND) bt Kantaphon Wangcharoen (THA) (8) 14-21, 21-18, 21-14; Sameer Verma (IND) (5) bt Rasmus Gemke (DEN) 21-18, 21-12; B Sai Praneeth (IND) bt Kartikey Gulshan Kumar (IND) 22-24, 21-13, 21-8; Khosit Phetpradab (THA) (7) bt Kartik Jindal (IND) 21-17, 21-8; Han Yue (CHN) (7) bt Vaidehi Choudhary (IND) 21-12, 21-6; Ratchanok Intanon (THA)(4) bt Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka (IND) 21-9, 21-6; Li Xuerui (CHN) bt Nitchaon Jindapol (THA) 21-17, 21-11; He Bingjiao (CHN) (3) bt Prashi Joshi (IND) 21-12, 21-15; Attri/Reddy (IND) (6) bt Ravi/Saroha (IND) 21-14, 21-7; Chopra/Sharma (IND) bt Govindarasu/Venkatachalam (IND) 21-13, 21-13.
(With PTI Inputs)