Thailand Open: Kiran stuns Shi Yu Qi; Sindhu out

India’s Kiran George scripted a stunning straight-game win over world number 9 Shi Yu Qi of China to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the Thailand Open Super 500 tournament in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Among other winners were Lakshya Sen, Ashmita Chaliha and Saina Nehwal, making her comeback, as well as men’s doubles top seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.

However, PV Sindhu suffered a shock first-round exit against a familiar opponent while Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, Priyanshu Rajawat, Sameer Verma, Malvika Bansod, Mithun Manjunath, Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam also went out in the first round.

Kiran, who comes from the Prakash Padukone academy, perhaps had the best match of the day as he notched a 21-18, 22-20 win over third seed Shi Yu Qi, who is a 2018 world championships silver medallist. He will take on China’s Weng Hong Yang, who beat Srikanth 8-21, 21-16, 14-21.

His academy mate Lakshya had to dig deep for a hard-fought 21-23, 21-15, 21-15 win over Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. He had the lead for most of the first game before losing it but recovered to win the next two. He will next play All England champion Li Shi Feng of China.

Satwik and Chirag, making a comeback after missing last week’s Malaysia Masters, also had to battle to beat Rasmus Kjaer and Frederik Sogaard 21-13, 18-21, 21-17 in a thrilling match.

However, it was a tough loss for Sindhu against Canada’s Michelle Li, who she has a 9-2 record against her. Still trying to find her form from before her five-month injury layoff, she pushed herself in the decider but fell short to lose 8-21, 21-18, 18-21 to in a 62-minute match.

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In other matches, national champion Mithun Manjunath too played a fighting match before going down to eighth seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn 17-21, 21-8, 21-15.

Ashmita, who came through the qualifiers, beat compatriot Malvika Bansod 17-21, 14-21, and will next face fourth Rio Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin.

Saina defeated Canadian qualifier Wen Yu Zhang 21-13, 21-7 in what was a comeback after a few months and will play third seed He Bing Jiao of China.

Orleans Masters winner Priyanshu Rajawat lost 19-21, 10-21 to Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong while Sai Praneeth went down to Christo Popov 14-21, 16-21 and Sameer Verma, who had won the Slovenia Open recently, went down 15-21, 15-21 to Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen.

In women’s doubles, Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam lost to Korea’s third seed Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee 11-21, 6-21.

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