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Saina, Sindhu win; Prannoy bows out


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu advanced to the second round while H S Prannoy made an early exit after playing with corns on his feet in the USD 350,000 India Open Super 500 badminton tournament here today.

With BWF making it mandatory for top shuttlers to play 12 tournaments in a year, World No. 10 Prannoy took the court against compatriot Shreyansh Jaiswal despite developing foot corns and handed over the opening round match to his younger colleague 4-21 6-21 within 13 minutes.

In the women's singles, Indonesia Masters finalist Saina got across Denmark's Sofie Holmboe Dahl 21-15 21-9, while defending champion Sindhu dumped another Danish girl Natalia Koch Rohde 21-10 21-13.

Saina will face Denmark's Line Hjmark Kjaersfeldt, while Sindhu will take on Bulgaria's Linda Zetchiri next.

Playing his first tournament of the new season after missing the Indonesia Masters due to a minor injury, second seed Kidambi Srikanth overcame Malaysia's Lee Cheuk Yiu 21-17 21-18 to set up a clash with Malaysian qualifier Iskandar Zulkarnain.

Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap also heaved a sigh of relief after stunning World No. 17 Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-14 21-18, making his first second round of a major event in more than a year.

The new BWF calender makes it mandatory for top 15 singles players to play in 12 tournaments out of the Super 1000, Super 750 and Super 500 events.

"I had to participate in the India Open because of the new BWF rule of mandatory 12 tournaments. I could not even concede the match because I have a compatriot as opponent and according to BWF rules. If you concede against the same country opponent, you won't get ranking points," said Prannoy, who had already missed the first two Super 500 tournaments at Malaysia and Indonesia.

"BWF does not see any genuine reason. There is no flexibility. I have already missed a couple of tournaments so I thought I would play here rather than missing tournaments probably in the later part of the year. Later, I would be running around. It will be a problem then," he added.

Saina also slammed the BWF and asked for a reduction in the number of mandatory tournaments for top players.

"I tell you the sport is killing. It is a tough calendar for players. I just feel that it should be reduced. I understand the point of sponsorship and money and not at the cost of players not playing well and not giving their best. We will not have a champion, we will only have tournaments," she said.

Prannoy had developed the corns during the Premier Badminton League and went for a treatment after the tournament but it did not pan out well for him.

"I had developed corns in my foot in 2-3 places and I went for a treatment but the Hyderabad doctor seems did not do it properly, so infection happened," the World No. 10 said.

"I will go for another procedure tomorrow. I could not train and pick up the racquet first time in 15 days. I hope to recover and play at All England," he added.

Among other Indians, B Sai Praneeth had to dig deep to see off 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph 21-11 17-21 21-17, while Aakarshi Kashyap, Ruthvika Shivani Gadde and Mugdha Agrey too crossed the first hurdle in women's singles.

Sameer Verma too shocked seventh seeded Anders Antonsen of Denmark 22-20 21-8 and will clash with Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto tomorrow.

However, Ajay Jayaram and Sourabh Verma exited the tournament after the former retired at 0-2 in the opening round match against Tommy Sugiarto and the latter going down 19-21 11-21 to Chinese fourth seed Shi Yuqi in another match.

In the doubles matches, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy prevailed over Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 16-21, 21-17, 21-17, while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa dumped Raju Mohamed Rehan and J Anees Kowsar 21-9, 21-10.

The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty, who reached the semifinals at Indonesia Masters last week, notched up a 21-18 21-14 win over Hong Kong pair of Chang Tak Ching and Hee Chun Mak.

Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also defeated qualifiers Adarsh Kumar and Jagadish Yadav, winning 21-7, 21-13 in another men's doubles match.

The women's doubles pair of Sikki and Ashwini Ponnappa also reached the second round.

Olympic champion Carolina Marin and 2013 world champion Ratchanok Inthanon also reached the second round.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 8:45 PM IST

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