Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu advance in Hong Kong Open badminton
Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy won their respective openers to advance to the second round at the $400,000 Hong Kong Open Superseries badminton tournament on Wednesday.
However, it was the end of the road for Parupalli Kashyap, B Sai Praneeth and Sourabh Verma, who lost their men’s singles first round matches at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
Rio Olympics silver medallist and second seed PV Sindhu barely broke a sweat as she marched past local girl Leung Yuet Yee 21-18, 21-10 in only 26 minutes. This was World No.2 Sindhu’s first match against the Hong Kong girl.
The three-time World Championships medallist will next face Japan’s Aya Ohori against whom Sindhu has an unbeaten 2-0 record.
Sindhu is gunning for her third Superseries title of 2017 after triumphing in India and South Korea.
A short while earlier, Saina also eased into the second round of women’s singles with a straight games victory over Denmark’s Mette Poulsen. The World No.11 won 21-19, 23-21 in 46 minutes in her first clash against the Dane.
Saina, who won the National Badminton Championships earlier this month, will next face Chinese eighth seed Chen Yufei in the second round.
The World No.9 has been in brilliant form this year and also clinched the bronze at the Glasgow World Championships in August and will be facing Saina for the first time.
Prannoy also made it to through to the second round of men’s singles but not before he was given a tough fight by veteran Hu Yun, who had a lot of local support cheering him on.
But the new Indian national champion stuck his neck out and won the contest 19-21, 21-17, 21-15 in an hour and one minute.
After beating Hu Yun in their first ever encounter, the World No.10 Prannoy will take on qualifier Kazumasa Sakai. But significantly, the Japanese has a 2-0 lead over the Kerala shuttler.
Kashyap and Verma also fought hard in their openers but their campaign came to a crashing end.
South Korean Lee Dong Keun beat reigning Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap 15-21, 21-9, 22-20 in an hour and nine minutes to level their head-to-head record to 2-2.
A little while later, Indonesian veteran Tommy Sugiarto beat Verma 21-15, 21-8 in half an hour to take a 2-1 advantage in career meetings over the Indian.
South Korean World No.3 Son Wan-ho earned a straight games victory over Sai Praneeth. The second seed won 21-8, 21-16 in 35 minutes to earn his third win over the Indian in as many meetings.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy went down in their women’s doubles match in the opening round. Chinese pair of Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei won 21-11, 19-21, 21-19 in 55 minutes.
Men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy also disappointed as they lost 17-21, 17-21 in 35 minutes to Malaysian-South Korean combine of Khim Wah Lim and Yoo Yeon Seong.