Saina Nehwal made sure India ended the opening day of the French Open on a high note as she entered the second round in Paris in what was otherwise a disappointing day for the country.
Saina, who was knocked out in the opening round of the Denmark Open earlier this month, had to battle hard to defeat Ngan Yi Cheung of Hong Kong 23-21, 21-17 in the women’s singles first round.
The world number nine player joined PV Sindhu in the second round of the BWF Super 750 tournament. Sindhu had defeated Canada’s Michelle Li in straight games 21-15, 21-15 to advance in the tournament on Tuesday.
Earlier, Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap were both ousted in the opening round of the men’s singles event at the French Open on Wednesday.
While Srikanth fought hard for 55 minutes against second seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei before losing 15-21 21-7 21-14, Kashyap was no match for Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus, losing 11-21 9-21.
Another Indian male shuttler Sameer Verma to suffered the same fate as he lost 22-20 18-21 18-21 to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the first round.
Shubhanker Dey now remains the lone Indian in the men’s singles contest, having progressed to the second round where he will be up against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia.
India’s challenge, however, came to an end in the opening round of the mixed doubles event with the ouster of the pairs of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa and Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy.
While Rankireddy and Ponappa lost 17-21 18-21 against fourth seed Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of Korea, Chopra and Reddy combination was shown the door by England’s Chris Adcock and Gabriellle Adcock 13-21 18-21.
It was a mixed outing for India in the men’s doubles event as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty progressed to the second round but it was curtains for the other Indian pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.
While Rankireddy and Shetty defeated Netherlands pair of Robin Tabeling 21-16 21-14, Attri and Reddy lost 19-21 22-20 15-21 against England’s Ben Lane Sean Vendy.
There was bad news for India in the women’s doubles event as well as the pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 21-16 13-21 17-21 against fifth seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of Korea.
(With PTI inputs)