Saina Nehwal crashed out in the first round of Thailand Open.© AFP
Olympic hopeful Saina Nehwal, however, bowed out after losing 17-21 8-21 to former world champion and home favourite Ratchanok Inthanon in a lop-sided contest in the Thailand Open. PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth notched up straight-game wins, while Sameer Verma shocked World No. 10 Lee Zii Jia as Indian shuttlers made impressive starts at the Toyota Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament in Bangkok on Tuesday. In men’s singles, former World No. 1 Srikanth, who had withdrawn ahead of the second round last week due to a calf muscle pull, seemed to have recovered completely as he decimated another Thai player Sitthikom Thammasin 21-11 21-11 in 37 minutes.
But the highlight of the day was the lion-hearted performance by world no. 31 Sameer, who stunned eighth seed Lee 18-21 27-25 21-19 in a thrilling opening match.
Saurabh Verma, brother of Sameer, also was knocked out, going down 16-21 11-21 to fifth seed Anthony Ginting of Indonesia, while Parupalli Kashyap retired at 0-3 against Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke.
A week after being sent packing by Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the first event of the Asia leg, world champion Sindhu showed great discipline and focus to see off World No. 12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-17 21-13 in the women’s singles opener.
The win against Busanan took Sindhu’s head-to-head count against the Thai to 11-1. The only time the Indian lost to the Thai player was at the Hong Kong Open in 2019.
Sindhu will face either Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun or Soniia Cheah in the second round of the Thailand Open.
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