Srikanth enters second round, Saina exits from Thailand Open

Kidambi Srikanth
Kidambi Srikanth makes a return to Jonatan Christie. Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-je

Bangkok: Fresh from playing a major role in India's historic Thomas Cup triumph, ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the men's singles second round, even as Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal failed to clear the first hurdle at the Thailand Open here on Wednesday.

Srikanth, seeded eighth in the BWF Super 500 tournament, won his first round match against Brice Leverdez of France 18-21, 21-10, 21-16 in 49 minutes.

He next faces qualifier Nhat Nguyen of Ireland, who defeated Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 21-12, 23-21 in the first round.

The Indian men's team, led by Srikanth, had beaten 14-time champions Indonesia in the final to win the country's maiden Thomas Cup title on Sunday.

London Olympic bronze medallist Saina battled hard for 50 minutes before losing 21-11, 15-21, 17-21 against Korean Kim Ga Eun in the women's singles first round.

Indian qualifier Ashmita Chaliha lost to seventh seeded Ratchanok Intanon of Thaliand 10-21, 15-21 in a first round match that lasted 29 minutes.

Compatriot and another qualifier, Aakarshi Kashyap lost to Michelle Li of Canada 13-21, 18-21 to bow out of the tournament in the first round.

Malvika Bansod battled her way into the second round with a fighting 17-21, 21-15, 21-11 win over Ukraine's Maria Ultina.

She will next face Line Christopherson of Denmark.

The mixed doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also suffered a first round exit, losing to the eighth-seeded Japanese duo of Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo 17-21, 17-21 in 34 minutes.

It was also curtains for B Sai Preneeth and Sourabh Verma in the men's singles opening round.

While Praneeth lost 12-21, 13-21 to Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand, Sourabh was shown the door by Toma Junior Popov of France 20-22, 12-21.

Other top Indian shuttlers like PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy, who was also a member of the Thomas Cup title-winning team, will be in action later in the day.

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