Saina Nehwal kick-started 2021 with a dominating win over Malaysia’s Kisona Selvaduray to enter the second round of Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament on Wednesday. Saina beat Kisona 21-15, 21-15 in a 36-minute clash. Olympic bronze medallist Saina will now face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the second round. Also Read - Thailand Open 2021: Carolina Marin, Axelsen Clinch Singles Titles

It was not the easiest of the way for Saina before the tournament as she forced to withdraw from the event for positive COVID-19 results on Tuesday but later returned a negative test. Also Read - Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal Knocked Out in Second Round; Kidambi Srikanth Pulls Out Due to Calf Injury

After the win, Saina showed his gratitude towards Badminton World Federation officials and doctors for allowing her to participate. Also Read - Thailand Open: Parupalli Kashyap Pulls Out Mid-Way From Opening Clash After Sustaining Calf Injury

“Yesterday, I was given a positive COVID-19 result after my PCR test but I already told them that I had COVID last November, so I have antibodies. I tried to explain this to the doctor and after my blood tests and chest X-rays the doctor said I was OK and I don’t have COVID-19,” Saina said after her win.

“I am thankful to the doctors, the BWF and everyone who made the decision for me to play. It was a tiring day but I am happy I could comeback and play my match.”

Former world number one Kidambi Srikanth also reached round two after registering a win over compatriot Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11.

Srikanth will next play eight seed Zii Jia Lee of Malaysia, who defeated another Indian HS Prannoy 13-21 21-14 21-8.

Star men’s doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy fought back to beat their South Korean opponents Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae 19-21, 21-16, 21-14 in a first-round match that lasted one hour and eight minutes.

India ace shuttler Parupalli Kashyap suffered a huge blow as he retired midway in his first match of the ongoing the Thailand Open Super 1000 against Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada after sustaining a calf injury.