Indian shuttlers Sourabh Verma and Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka made it to the men’s and women’s singles main draw of the Thailand Open badminton tournament after winning their respective qualifying round matches in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Sourabh first beat Kantawat Leelavechabutr of Thailand 21-18, 21-19 and then got the better of Zhou Ze Qi of China 11-21, 21-14, 21-18 in his second match of the qualification round to advance to the men’s singles main draw. Zhou had beaten another Indian Ajay Jayaram 21-16, 21-13.
Sourabh’s progress ensured there were seven Indian men in the singles draw at the Super 500 event.
Uttejitha Rao, meanwhile, beat Tam Brittney of Canada 16-21, 21-14, 21-19 to enter the women’s singles main draw where she joins Saina Nehwal.
B Sai Praneeth, K Srikanth (fifth seed), HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma (eighth see), Subhankar Dey and Parupalli Kashyap, in men’s singles, are in the fray in the main draw of the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament.
In the doubles categories, there was mixed results for India.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty emerged victorious in the men’s doubles first round by beating compatriots Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy 21-11, 24-26, 21-11 in a 52-minute encounter. The young and upcoming pair, ranked 16 in the world now, maintained their unbeaten record over Manu and Sumeeth in the BWF tour.
In women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy lost to 14th ranked pair Li Wen Mei and Zheng Yu 21-7, 21-13 in 28 minutes.
Earlier on Monday, news emerged of PV Sindhu withdrawing from the Thailand Open where compatriot Nehwal will return to the circuit.
Sindhu, who reached the final in Indonesia Open but lost in the Japan Open quarterfinals last week, will not take the court in the Thailand Open main draw, which begins on Wednesday.
She had lost to Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in both her previous tournaments. The reasons for her withdrawal are not official yet but it is believed to be workload management ahead of the highly-anticipated World Championships in Basel in August: an event where Sindhu is India’s only two-time silver medallist.
Nehwal, seeded seventh on paper but the third highest in reality due to various pullouts, will open her women’s singles campaign against a qualifier on Wednesday. The former world No 1 was forced to withdraw from both the Indonesia and Japan Open on medical grounds.