New Delhi: Olympic medallists P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal made a resounding start to their women’s singles campaign but it was Sameer Verma who hogged the limelight with a stunning straight-game win over Korean Son Wan Ho in men’s event in the opening round of the India Super Series here today.
Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu streamrolled compatriot Arundhati Pantawane 21-17 21-6, while London Games bronze medallist Saina defeated Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hsin Lee 21-10 21-17 in a lop-sided contest.
“I gifted her seven points, may be I was a bit anxious to finish the match. The score should have been 21-10 21-10. She is a tricky player. She also plays doubles so some of her strokes were difficult to gauge. I am happy with my movement,” said Saina, who will face the winner of the match between Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching in the next round.
Sindhu, who will next take on unseeded Saena Kawakami of Japan, said: “It was a good match. It was close in the first game but I took a lead in the second early on. I am focused on the next game, taking one match at a time.”
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Sameer, who had clinched his maiden Grand Prix Gold title at the Syed Modi International, shocked fourth seeded Korean Son Wan Ho 21-17 21-10 in a 45-minute contest to set up a clash with Hong Kong’s Hu Yun next.
Sai Praneeth, a finalist at Lucknow and who recently recovered from a shoulder injury, staved off a challenge from Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto to win 16-21 21-12 21-19. He will play seventh seed Chou Tien Chen next.
National champion Rituparna Das also produced a scintillating performance to eke out a 19-21 21-15 21-19 win over Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Mei Hui, while In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy defeated England pair of Gabrielle Adcock and Jessica Pugh 21-16 21-16. The duo will face fourth seeded Thai pair of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
Saena Kawakami of Japan ended Rasika Raje’s campaign beating her 21-10 21-12, while Reshma Karthik lost 9-21 8-21 to Zhang Yiman of China.
Tanvi Lad retired midway at 6-2 due to an injury, while P C Thulasi suffered a 15-21 16-21 loss to seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan while Anura Prabhudesai lost to Sayaka Sato of Japan 21-17 21-16.
In men’s doubles, it turned out to be a disappointing day for the Indians as Vietnam Open winners Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost 14-21 17-21 to Denmark’s Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.
Among other Indians in the fray, women’s pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant, and Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram, Juhi Dewangan and Saumya Singh, Kuhoo Garg and Ningshi Block Hazarika, Gauri Asaji and Megha Morchana Bora, Sruthi KP and Haritha Manazhiyil Harinarayanan, Mahima Aggarwal and Maneesha K crashed out in first round.