HYDERABAD: Unruffled by the series of controversies that marked the first day, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty eased into the pre-quarterfinals of the Thailand Open BWF Super-1000 tournament in Bangkok on Wednesday.
However, Saina’s husband Parupalli Kashyap, Sameer Verma and the husband and wife pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy along with other doubles teams exited the tournament.
Despite a disappointing Tuesday, Saina looked in splendid touch as she trounced Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia in straight games 21-15, 21-15.
A relieved Saina told the BWF website, “Yesterday I was given a positive Covid-19 result after my PCR test, but I already told them I had Covid-19 last November, so I have antibodies. I tried to explain this to the doctor after my blood tests and chest x-rays, the doctor said I was ok and do not have Covid-19. I’m thankful to the doctors, the BWF and everyone who made the decision for me to play. It was a tiring day, but I’m happy I could come back and play my match.”
The World No. 20 Indian will now face World No.12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand in the pre-quarterfinals on Thursday.
In men’s singles, Srikanth eased past his training partner Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11 in the first round.
Meanwhile, Sourabh’s brother Sameer Verma suffered a straight game loss against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia 21-15, 21-7 while Kashyap retired hurt after trailing in the third game against Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada 21-19, 13-21, 14-8.
Exciting doubles pair of Satwik and Chirag downed their idols Kim Gi Jung and lee Yong Dae of Korea 19-21, 21-16, 21-14. “When we started playing badminton we used to idolise them…we’re happy to be back after 11 months,” said Chirag.
His partner Satwik too was quite happy to notch up a victory against the formidable Korean combine. “Lee Yong Dae was an idol for both of us…we’re happy to get the win. We are doing well in practice, that hunger is there. We didn’t play well last year, so that spirit, that fire is there inside, and we’re heading into the Olympics, so we want to see what the other players have worked on during the last few months,” Satwik told the BWF website.
Results (Rd I; Men’s singles): Kidambi Srikanth bt Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11; Shesar Hiren Rhustavito (Ina) bt Sameer Verma 21-15, 21-17; Jason Anthony Ho-Shue (Can) bt Parupalli Kashyap 21-19, 13-21, 14-8 retd.
Women’s singles: Saina Nehwal bt Kisona Selvaduray (Mas) 21-15, 21-15.
Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty bt Kim Gi Jung/Lee Yong Dae 19-21, 21-16, 21-14; Weeraphat Phakjarung/Wongsathorn Thongkham (Tha) bt Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy 21-19, 21-14; Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (Mas) bt Dhruv Kapila/MR Arjun 13-21, 21-8, 24-22.
Mixed doubles: Chun Man Tang/Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Sumeeth Reddy/Sikki Reddy 22-20, 21-17