Thailand Open: PV Sindhu exits, Saina Nehwal eases through

Bangkok, May 31

India’s Kiran George scripted a stunning straight-game win over world No. 9 Shi Yuqi of China but double Olympics medallist PV Sindhu made an opening-round exit from the Thailand Open Super 500 tournament here today.

Ashmita Chaliha and Saina Nehwal also made winning starts to their campaign in women’s singles.

In men’s singles, Lakshya Sen advanced to the pre-quarterfinals, while Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth failed to cross the opening hurdle. The world No. 4 pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also progressed to the pre-quarterfinals.

Kiran, a product of the Prakash Padukone Academy, notched up a 21-18 22-20 win over third seed Shi Yu Qi, who is a 2018 World Championships silver medallist, in men’s singles. Kiran will take on China’s Weng Hong Yang next.

Lakshya dug deep to eke out a hard-fought 21-23 21-15 21-15 win over Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei.

Top seeds Satwiksairaj and Chirag too had to work hard to outwit the Danish combination of Rasmus Kjaer and Frederik Sogaard 21-13 18-21 21-17 in a thrilling match.

Former world champion Sindhu, however, faltered in the opening round, going down fighting 8-21 21-18 18-21 to Canada’s Michelle Li in 62-minute match.

In other matches, Ashmita, who came through the qualifiers, beat compatriot Malvika Bansod 21-17 21-14, while London Olympics bronze medallist Saina defeated Canada’s Wen Yu Zhang 21-13 21-7. Ashmita will next face Rio Olympics gold medallist Carolina Marin.

Srikanth, the 2021 World Championships silver medallist, lost 8-21 21-16 14-21 against China’s Weng Hong Yang, who reached the final of the Malaysia Masters last week. Praneeth also found France’s Christo Popov too hot to handle, going down 14-21 16-21 in another match.

Orleans Masters winner Priyanshu Rajawat too couldn’t cross the opening hurdle, going down 19-21 10-21 to Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong. Sameer Verma, who had won the Slovenia Open recently, went down 15-21 15-21 to Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen.

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