IMAGE: India’s Saina Nehwal in action during her first round match against the Czech Republic’s Tereza Svabikova at the India Open, in New Delhi, on Wednesday. Photograph: BAI Media/Twitter
Saina Nehwal, Lakshya Sen and H S Prannoy progressed to the second round of the India Open with contrasting victories, in Delhi, on Wednesday.
Former world No. 1 Saina, who missed a lot of tournaments last year due to multiple injuries, moved to the second round after her opponent, Czech Republic’s Tereza Svabikova, suffered a back injury and retired mid-way while trailing 20-22, 0-1 in an opening round match.
“Playing after so long gives you the match confidence, how to pull out those points, because in practice you don’t have the privilege to play points with the same intensity as you do in tournaments.
“The quality of some of the points I got today… I hope it somehow helps me tomorrow,” said Saina, after her match.
Saina, seeded fourth, will next meet compatriot Malvika Bansod, who defeated fellow-Indian Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-18, 21-9 in another women’s singles match.
In the men’s singles, eighth seed Prannoy, a former world top 10 player, got the better of Spain’s Pablo Abian 21-14, 21-7 and will next face Mithun Manjunath, who eked out a hard-fought 21-16, 15-21, 21-10 victory over France’s Arnaud Merkle.
Third seed Sen, who claimed the World Championships bronze on debut last month, thrashed Egypt’s Adham Hatem Elgamal 21-15, 21-7 to set up a face-off with Sweden’s Felix Burestedt.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, seeded second, also entered the second round after prevailing 21-7, 19-21, 21-13 over compatriots Janani Ananthakumar and Divya R.Balasubramanian.
Among other Indians, Aakarshi Kashyap beat compatriot Anura Prabhudesai 21-14, 21-14, while Rahul Yadav Chittaboina got a walkover after Spain’s Luís Enrique Penalver’s withdrawal.
Kashyap will square off against Keyura Mopati, who has been promoted from reserve.
Mopati beat fellow-Indian Smit Toshniwal 15-21, 21-19, 21-8.
Rahul will take on Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen, who knocked out Ajay Jayaram 19-21, 21-7, 21-14 in another men’s singles contest.
Tanya Hemanth got rid of Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka, winning 9-21, 21-12, 21-19 in another women’s singles match.
P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma reached the second round on Tuesday.