Japan Open: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth progress; curtains for Sourabh Verma

Bangkok: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal returned to the court in style, registering a straight-game win over local hope Phittayaporn Chaiwan, to sail into the women's singles second round of the Thailand Open here on Wednesday. Returning to action after nearly two months, Saina, who made last-minute withdrawals from Indonesia Open and last week's Japan Open because of injuries, got past Chaiwan 21-17 21-19 in her opening round contest.

It was good news for Indians in the men's singles event as well as the likes of Kidambi Srikanth, H S Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap and Shubhanker Dey all progressed to the next round by overcoming their respective rivals. Fifth seed Srikanth was made to toil hard for one hour and seven minutes by Chinese qualifier Ren Peng Bo before the Indian came out victorious 21-13 17-21 21-19. Later in the day, Prannoy defeated Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent of 21-16 22-20, while Kashyap came from a game down to beat Israel's Misha Zilberman 18-21 21-8 21-14.

However, it was curtains for Sourabh Verma. He fought hard for 64 minutes against seventh seed Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan before going down 21-23 21-19 5-21 in his opening match. Earlier in the day, the mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa recorded one of the biggest wins of their career, stunning Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in the first round. The unseeded Indian pair battled got Malaysian duo of Soon and Ying 21-18 18-21 21-17.

- Press Trust of India

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