New Delhi: Former champion Saina Nehwal, world championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen and comeback man HS Prannoy registered contrasting wins to progress to the second round of the India Open here on Wednesday.
Commonwealth Games silver medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made winning starts to their men’s doubles campaign.
Former world no 1. Saina, who missed a lot of tournaments last year due to multiple injuries, moved to the second round after her opponent Czech Republic’s Tereza Svabikova suffered a back injury and retired mid-way while lagging 20-22 0-1 in the opening round match.
“Playing after so long gives you the match confidence…how to pull out those points, because in practice you don’t have the privilege to play points with the same intensity as you do in tournaments. The quality of some of the points I got today…I hope it somehow helps me tomorrow,” Saina said after her match.
Saina, who is seeded fourth, will meet compatriot Malvika Bansod, who defeated fellow Indian Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18 21-9 in another match.
The left-handed Nagpur shuttler had recently won the All India Senior ranking meet in Hyderabad.
“I am really excited to play against Saina as it will be my first encounter with her, so really hoping to play well,” said Malvika, who had been part of India’s campaign at the Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup Finals last year.
On a comeback trail, Prannoy, a former world top 10 player, who had made it to the quarterfinals at the world championships, got the better of Spain’s Pablo Abian 21-14 21-7 and will next face Mithun Manjunath.
Manjunath eked out a hard-fought 21-16 15-21 21-10 victory over France’s Arnaud Merkle.
“Extremely happy to win the first match. Pablo is a tricky player, a fighter but after the first 7-8 points, I could play much better,” Prannoy said.
Third seed Sen, who claimed the world championships bronze on debut last month, thrashed Egypt’s Adham Hatem Elgamal 21-15 21-7 to set up a face-off with Sweden’s Felix Burestedt.
World no. 10 men’s pairing of Satwik and Chirag, seeded second, trounced fellow Indian combination of Chirag Arora and Ravi 21-14 21-10 to also advance to the second round of the BWF Super 500 tournament at the KD Jadhav Indoor hall.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, seeded second, also entered the second round after prevailing 21-7 19-21 21-13 over compatriots Janani Ananthakumar and Divya R.Balasubramanian in women’s doubles.
Among other Indians, Aakarshi Kashyap beat compatriot Anura Prabhudesai 21-14 21-14, while Rahul Yadav Chittaboina got a walkover after Spain’s Lu s Enrique Penalver’s withdrawal.
Kashyap will square off against Keyura Mopati, who has been promoted from reserve. Mopati beat fellow Indian Smit Toshniwal 15-21 21-19 21-8. Rahul will be pitted against Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen, who knocked out Ajay Jayaram 19-21, 21-7 21-14 in another men’s singles contest.
Tanya Hemanth also got rid of Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka 9-21 21-12 21-19 in another women’s singles match.
While Priyanshu Rajawat fell in the opening hurdle, losing 21-15 17-21 14-21 to Lucas Claerbout of France.
PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma had reached the second round on Tuesday.