All England Badminton Championship: Sindhu wins her opening match as Saina, Srikanth make early exits
India had a mixed opening day at the All England Badminton Championship. While Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu won her opening match but London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal made an early exit. Former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth too lost his first match.
India had a mixed opening on the first day of the All England Badminton Championship on 11 March.
The day started on a bright note for India as Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu clinched a comfortable win over USA's Beiwen Zhang to progress to the 2nd round. Sindhu beat Zhang 21-14, 21-17.
The happiness from Sindhu's win decapitated later in the day as Saina Nehwal made a first-round exit following a loss to Japanese nemesis Akane Yamaguchi. It took the Japanese shuttler 28 minutes to register a scoreline of 21-11 21-8 to go through to the next round.
In men's singles, former World No.1 Kidambi Srikanth lost to third seed and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long 15-21, 16-21 in 43 minutes. Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap too exited the championships early.
Kashyap retired hurt after just a minute of play with the scoreline reading 0-3 against Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. World No.36 Zhao Jun Peng dumped Praneeth as he crushed the Indian shuttler 21-12, 21-13 in mere 33 minutes.
But 18-year-old Lakshya Sen made up for the disappointments as he prevailed over Hong Kong's Cheuk Yiu Lee 17-21 21-8 21-17 in a gruelling first round, which lasted 59 minutes.
In women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy will open their campaign against the British pair of Jenny Moore and Victoria Williams. The mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost to top-seeded Chinese pair of Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang retired. The Indian pair went down 13-21, 21-11, 17-21.
With Nehwal and Srikanth exiting early from the Championships their chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have slimmed.