Tenth seed Sameer Verma prevented Indian shuttlers from starting with a 100% winning record on the opening day in the BWF World Championship in Basel, Switzerland. B Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth registered contrasting wins to advance to the second round in Basel on Monday while Verma tasted defeat in the final match.
Sai Praneeth was erratic through out the 39-minute encounter against Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Sue but managed to win in straight games 21-17, 21-16 in the morning session. Prannoy put behind a first game reversal to defeat Eetu Heino of Finland 17-21, 21-10, 21-10 while Srikanth avoided a major scare against Nhat Nguyen of Ireland before winning 17-21, 21-16, 21-6 to reach the second round.
Updates of day one at the World Championships here.
Also advancing to the next round was Indian women’s doubles combination of Poorvisha S Ram and J Meghana as the world No 41 combination defeated Diana Corleto Soto and Nikte Alejandra Sotomayor of Guatemala 21-10, 21-18 in the opening round.
After Meghana and Poorvisha gave the Indian contingent a winning start, Sai Praneeth oscillated between playing some delectable strokes to making a flurry of unforced errors against the energetic Ho-Sue.
The Indian, who turned 27 earlier this month, clinched nine straight points to race to a 17-7 lead in the first game before a lapse in concentration allowed the Canadian to stage a fight back. Ho-Sue used his big smashes to good effect to close the gap within two points before Sai Praneeth broke the streak with a good challenge on the baseline. He then used his experience to wrap up the game.
The second game was a much closer affair in the first half but the Indian managed to take a two point lead at the mid-game interval. From here on, he used the cross courts smashes to Ho-Sue’s backhand to good effect to win seven out of the next eight points to open up a big lead and ease into the second round.
He will now Korea’s Lee Dong Keun on Tuesday.
Later in the day, Prannoy couldn’t find any rhythm in the opening game and was clearly chasing shadows once he conceded six straight points from a 5-3 lead to go behind 5-9. He never recovered from that position to concede the advantage to Heino.
But the change of ends also resulted in change of fortunes as the world No 30 then dominated the proceedings for the next two games to clinch the match in just under an hour. He will now face former world champion Lin Dan, who got the better of Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen 16-21, 21-12, 21-12.
In the evening session, former world No 1 Srikanth was expected to have a cakewalk against Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen and it looked like the seventh seed could finish the match in canter when he opened up a 14-7 lead in the opening game.
A flurry of errors thereafter not just allowed Nguyen to stitch together a series of points but also allowed the 19-year-old to turn the tables on his more experienced opponent as he wrapped the opening game with ease, taking a 1-0 lead.
The second game was a topsy-turvy affair with Nguyen taking the early advantage only for the Indian to fight back and take an one-point lead at the mid-game interval. But nerves got the better of the Irishman as the business end of the game approached and the Indian pounced on the opportunity to force a decider.
The third and final game was a lop-sided affair as Srikanth raced to a 11-1 lead and never looked back from there on.
He will next face Israel’s Misha Zilberman in the second round.
In the last match of the opening day, 10th seed Verma was knocked out by Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew 21-15, 15-21 10-21 in 62 minutes. Verma started off well in the opening game but Loh found some momentum at the back-end of the first game that he lost 15-21. The 22-year-old, who had defeated Lin Dan in the final of Thailand Masters earlier this year, dominated the second and third games as Verma became the first Indian shuttler to suffer defeat in Basel.
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