It might not have been the best of years for ace shuttler Saina Nehwal but she is taking all the measures to turn the story around. The feisty player from Haryana, put her first-round loss at the Denmark Open behind her and opened her campaign big at the French Open. The 29-year-old headlined the act for the Indian contingent on Day 2 of the French Open as most of the other players succumbed to early losses.
Saina defeated Ngan Yi Cheung of Hong Kong 23-21, 21-17 in the women’s singles first round and sailed into the second. Having dropped in the BWF ranking charts to 9th, Nehwal showed her usual grit and focus as she went on to defeat Yi Cheung in straight games. With this victory, Nehwal will keep the hope of India alive in the women's singles category along with World Champion PV Sindhu, who has already made it to Round of 16 at the BWF 750 tournament. The lanky Hyderabadi delivered a dominating performance on Day 1 and took down Canada's Michelle Li 21-15, 21-13.
In the other proceedings of Day 2, it was a bad day at the office for the Indian shuttlers. Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Sameer Verma took an early leave from the tournament and all but ended India's hope in the men's category. Srikanth failed to hold on to his game and let it slip against Tien Chen Chou of Taiwan who battled him in three games to take home the match in 21-15, 7-21, 14-21.
Sameer Verma, also suffered a crushing loss to Japan's Kenta Nishimota. It was a close fight between the two but ultimately the Japanese shuttler prevailed in 22-20, 18-21, 18-21.
Parupalli Kashyap also met with a similar fate in his opening match at the French Open against Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong. Kashyap barely put up a fight and the match was concluded in 11-21, 9-21. The last remaining hope for India in the Men's Singles rests with Subhankar Dey who pulled off a stunning defeat of Tommy Sugiarto in his first round match on Day 1.
On a day filled with such sorry and scrappy performances, it was only Saina Nehwal whose match shown like a glimmer of hope for the Indian contingent. Other than her, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty moved into the second round of the French Open while the pair of Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy suffered an early-exit in Men's Doubles.
India's chances were erased at the Mixed Doubles and Women's Doubles category too with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa and Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy taking their leave in Mixed Doubles while the pair of Ashwini Ponappa/N Sikki Reddy lost 21-16 13-21 17-21 to exit from the Women’s Doubles category.