Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth notched up comfortable victories over their respective opponents to make an impressive start at the BWF World Championships on Tuesday.
Saina, who won a silver and bronze in the earlier editions of the championship, defeated Turkey’s Aliye Demirbag 21-17 21-8 in the second round to set up a pre-quarterfinal clash with 2013 champion Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand. The Olympic medallist Indian had received a bye in the first round.
Fifth seed Srikanth dispatched Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen 21-15 21-16 in his campaign opener to join compatriots HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma and B Sai Praneeth, who received a walkover after his opponent, Korea’s Son Wan Ho, pulled out in the second round.
Srikanth, who won four titles last season, will face Spain’s Pablo Abian next, while Praneeth will meet another spaniard, Luís Enrique Penalver.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa staved off a challenge from 15th seeded German pair of Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, registering a 10-21 21-17 21-18 win to enter the pre-quarterfinals.
Satwik and Ashwini will face seventh seeded Malaysian pair of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai.
However, Russian Open silver medallists Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg went down 12-21 12-21 against the sixth seeded husband-wife English combination of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock in another mixed doubles second-round match.
The promising men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok also couldn’t cross the opening hurdle, losing 14-21 15-21 to the Malaysian pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
The top mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also gave a poor account of themselves as they lost 16-21 4-21 to 12th seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.
Tarun Kona and Saurabh Sharma also fell in the men’s doubles first round, losing 20-22 21-18 17-21 to Hong Kong’s Or Chin Chung and Tang Chun Man in a hard-fought battle.