Top Indian male shuttlers Srikanth Kidambi, B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy advanced to the second round of the men’s singles event at the Syed Modi International Badminton tournament in Lucknow on Wednesday while Ajay Jayaram produced a significant upset by ousting Sameer Verma.
Third seed Srikanth sailed past Russia’s Vladimir Malkov in straight games to set up a second-round clash with compatriot Parupalli Kashyap.
Srikanth prevailed 21-12, 21-11 in his 36-minute opening round clash, while Kashyap got a walkover from Frenchman Lucas Corvee in the BWF World Tour Super 300 level tournament.
With top seed Shi Yuqi ousted in the opening round (25-23 21-17 by Malaysia’s Soo Teck Zhi), this tournament presents a great chance for Srikanth to end his two-year wait for a title.
Fourth seed Sai Praneeth also moved into the next round, defeating Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain 21-16, 22-20 in 47 minutes. The 2019 world championships bronze medaliist will face multiple-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn next.
In what was another significant upset in the men’s singles draw, Ajay Jayaram, ranked 72 in the world, knocked out fifth seed Sameer Verma (ranked 23 in the world) in an all-Indian encounter. That was quite the result for Ajay who bounced back from a game down to win 15-21, 21-18, 21-13 in 62 minutes. Sameer’s elder brother Sourabh, however, progressed by beating Xiaodong Sheng in straight games.
Among other Indian players in action, 18-year-old Lakshya Sen, who won the Scottish Open last week for his fourth title of 2019, also got a walkover after another French shuttler Thomas Rouxel withdrew from the competition.
Sen will face former world No 1 Son Wan Ho next.
India’s Alap Mishra also moved into the round of 16 with a 21-16, 21-16 win Georges Julien Paul from Mauritius. He will face Sourabh next.
Prannoy also booked his place in the second round where he will face eighth seed Wang Tzu Wei. Prannoy beat Shi Feng Li 18-21, 22-20, 21-13 in a 72-minute match.
Siril Verma too made the men’s singles second round after getting the better of Chinese Taipei’s Huang Ping-Hsien 12-21 21-15 21-3.
In the women’s competition, Indian youngster Ashmita Chaliha advanced after beating compatriot Vrushali Gummadi 21-16, 21-16 in a 32-minute contest. She will face Kim Hyo Win in the next round.
Later, Rituparna Das and Tanvi Lad also accounted for higher-ranked players in their respective first round matches (Yip Pui Pin and Natalia Perminova respectively) to set up a meeting among each other for in the pre-quarterfinals.
While Rituparna beat Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 21-19 21-19, Tanvi had to sweat it out to come out winners 21-18 17-21 21-16 over Russia’s Natalia Perminova.
Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, seeded fourth, defeated Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri 21-16 21-11 to set up a clash against Korea’s Sim Yu Jin.
In women’s doubles, eighth seeds Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy survived an opening-round scare, as they beat world No 44 Ng Tsz Yau / Yeung Nga Ying 21-13, 16-21, 21-19 in 56 minutes. The Indian duo will next play against the English pair of Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith.
There was disappointing news late in the day for India. Rising men’s doubles duo Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty (seeded second) were knocked out in the first round by China’s Wang Chang and Di Zi Jian (ranked 36th). The Indians lost 12-21, 21-23 in 39 minutes despite saving a match point in the second game.
Later, Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj did not take part in the mixed doubles match.
(Official results available here.)