The scratch combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty upset world number 7 pairing of Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen of Denmark while Riya Mookerjee packed off the experienced Linda Zetchiri to kick off India’s campaign in the Swiss Open badminton tournament in Basel on a high.
Chopra and Shetty, who won the senior nationals recently and are playing together only because the latter’s regular partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy is injured, needed just two games to knock off the second seeds 21-16, 21-18 in 44 minutes.
The Indian combination raced through the opening game but it looked like the Danes had found their groove in the second when they opened up a 17-12 lead. However, Chopra and Shetty won nine of the next 10 points to advance to the second round where they will face Canada’s Jason Hoshue and Nyl Yakura.
Earlier, qualifier Mookerjee brushed aside the disappointment of failing to convert a game point in the first game to beat Zetchiri 21-23, 21-15, 21-8 as she raced to victory with seven straight points in the decider. She will now face sixth seed Michelle Li of Canada, who defeated India’s G Vrushali 21-14, 21-11 in the first round.
Among the other Indians to advance to the next round were defending men’s singles champion Sameer Verma, P Kashyap, Subhakar Dey and B Sai Praneeth.
With Saina Nehwal pulling out of the tournament last minute and has now been diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and mild pancreatitis, the onus was on the men’s singles stars and then did not disappoint in the opening round.
Verma was clinical in his 21-18, 21-15 win over compatriot Ajay Jayaram while Sai Praneeth eased into the second round after Rajiv Ouseph conceded the match while trailing 11-5.
SaarLorLux Open champion Dey set up a second round encounter against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie with a 21-19, 21-17 win over Lucas Claerbout of France while Kashyap prevailed 21-19, 21-17 over Sweden’s Felix Burestedt.