First day of the main draw matches at the All England Badminton Championships proved to be a mixed day as far as Indian shuttlers are concerned. There were wins for singles players in PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy but there were early exits for other singles players Ajay Jayaram and Kidambi Srikanth. In the doubles department, Meghana Jakkampudi/Ram Poorvisha (women’s doubles) and Manu Attri/B. Sumeeth Reddy (men’s doubles) lost early on in the Superseries Premier event in Birmingham on Wednesday.
PV Sindhu, seeded sixth, had an easy time dispatching Mette Poulsen of Denmark 21-10, 21-11. However it was Saina’s win that stole the attention. Former World No 1, now on the recovery trail after surgery and injury layoff, got the better of defending All England champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan. The Hyderabadi won 21-15, 21-14. With the win, Nehwal also exacted revenge for her loss in 2015 to Okuhara and extended her head-to-head over the Japanese to 5-1.
Srikanth foot tooth and nail but could not get the win over Jungpeng Zhao of China, losing 19-21, 21-19, 12-21 in a nearly an hour long contest. Jayaram’s exit, though, was in straight games to Yuxiang Huang (19-21, 13-21).
Another Indian pairing of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy take the court last on the day in the mixed doubles event.
Sindhu now takes on Dinar Dyah Ayustine of Indonesia while Saina faces German qualifier Fabienne Deprez. For Prannoy, seventh seeded Chinese shuttler Houwei Tian awaits in the second round.