Srikanth, Saina, Praneeth advance
Indian shuttlers had a mixed day at the Australian Open Super Series as Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth progressed to the second round but four others were knocked out in the first round itself, here.
Srikanth, who won the Indonesia Open last week, continued his good form by defeating Chinese Taipei Kan Chao Yu 21-13 21-16 in the men's singles opening round while Sai Praneeth had to sweat it out to register a hard-fought 10-21 21-12 21- 10 win over Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto. Srikanth will next play top seed Son Wan Ho of Korea, while Sai Praneeth will be up against Huang Yuxiang of China.
In the women's singles, Saina was up against a tough opponent in fourth seed Sung Ji Hyun of Korea but the former world no.1 showed her masterclass to beat her opponent in straight games 21-10 21-16.
Later in the day, fifth seed PV Sindhu will play Japan's Sayaka Sato while Ruthvika Shivani Gadde will take on Chen Xiaoxin of China. However, it was curtains for HS Prannoy, who lost in the semi-finals in Indonesia, Ajay Jayram, Praupalli Kashyap and Siril Verma in the men's singles first round. Up against seventh seed Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong, Jayram fought hard before losing 14-21 21-10 21-9. Returning from injury, Kashyap too gave Son Wan Ho of Korea a run for his money before losing the duel 21-18 14-21 21-15 in an energy-sapping match that last more than an hour. Young Siril Verma was shown the door by Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 16-21 8-21 while Prannoy lost 19-21 13-21 against Rajiv Ouseph of England. The men's doubles pair of Francis Alwin and Tarun Kona lost in the opening round 17-21 15-21 to Indonesian-Malaysia combination of Hendra Setiawan Boon Heong Tan, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy were beaten 20-22 6-21 by third seeds Takeshi Kamura Keigo Sonoda of Japan.