Hong Kong: In the absence of Saina Nehwal, all other Indian shuttlers failed to rise up to expectations with everyone losing their respective first-round matches at the $350,000 Hong Kong Open Superseries here on Wednesday.
Kidambi Srikanth, P.V. Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram, H.S. Prannoy and the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa all suffered losses in their respective opening rounds at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
World No.5 Srikanth began with the fall, suffering his fourth men’s singles first round exit in five consecutive tournaments when he went down to China’s Tian Houwei. Sixth seed Srikanth was one of India’s brightest prospects here but he fell to the Chinese World No.10.
Tian took an hour and 13 minutes to beat the Guntur-born, winning 21-16, 15-21, 24-22 to extend his head-to-head to a perfect 5-0.
Jayaram put up a good show against reigning World Champion Chen Long but went down to the Chinese World No.1 17-21, 12-21 in 40 minutes. This was the Mumbaikar’s fourth loss in as many matches to the top seed.
Rising shuttler Prannoy put up a good show but went down to much lower ranked Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in exactly an hour. The World No.59 Japanese won 21-15, 18-21, 21-6 to advance to the second round in their first ever meeting.
In women’s singles, double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu also went down to reigning World Champion Carolina Marin as the top seeded Spaniard took just 35 minutes to win 21-17, 21-9.
Though Sindhu had recently beaten the World No.1 last month in Denmark, she failed to emulate that performance here. With the victory, Carolina extended her record to 4-2 against the World No.13 Hyderabadi.
Jwala and Ashwini also did not have a great outing as they lost in straight games to South Korean Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan in just over half an hour. The eighth seeds beat the World No.11 Indians 21-12, 21-15 in their first career meeting.