Thailand Open: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth ease into second round; Intanon knocks Saina out

PV Sindhu in action against Nozomi Okuhara in the All England Open quarterfinals. She lost the match 21-12, 15-21, 13-21. Shi Tang/Getty Images

PV Sindhu eased into the second round of the Thailand Open after beating Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-17, 21-13. This was Sindhu's first win since the resumption of badminton after the coronavirus-induced break. Kidambi Srikanth also advanced to the last 16 after an emphatic 21-11, 21-11 win over Thailand's Sitthikhom Thammasin.

Saina Nehwal's prolonged run of poor form continued though as she lost 17-21, 8-21 to former world champion and home favourite Ratchanok Intanon in just 32 minutes. Sameer Verma also progressed to the round of 16 after stunning world no. 10 Lee Zil Jia 18-21, 27-25, 21-19 in a see-saw battle. Others to advance were the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, the 2019 Thailand Open champions coming from behind in both games to beat compatriots Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy 22-20, 28-26 in 45 minutes. Rankireddy also advanced in the mixed doubles, as he and Ashwini Ponnappa beat the Danish duo of Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund 23-21, 21-18.

Sindhu had won 10 of her previous 11 matches against Ongbamrungphan, but it was the Thai player who got off to a better start as she seemed to be carrying the confidence from her quarterfinal run last week at the Yonex Thailand Open.

Ongbamrungphan opened up a 13-8 lead in the opening game as Sindhu seemed to be suffering from a lack of competitive match play but the Indian brought all her experience into play towards the end of the game as she distanced herself from Ongbamrungphan after leveling scores at 16-16.

Sindhu had won the opening game in her first round match against Mia Blichfeldt too before going on to lose the match after squandering two match points in the second game. There were no such hiccups this time around as Sindhu mounted a comfortable lead at the beginning of the second game.

Ongbamrungphan tried hard but struggled to match Sindhu's power and accuracy as the Indian picked part the Thai player's backhand in a clinical display in the second game. Sindhu will face Malaysia's Kisona Selvaduray in the round of 16.

Srikanth maintained his perfect record against Thammasin as he was ultra aggressive from the beginning of the match. Thammasin was completely overpowered as the Indian landed his smashes with relentless accuracy in a powerful display.

Srikanth had pulled out of last week's tournament with a calf muscle injury but today's match was a relatively straightforward match and did not strain the Indian at all.

In a match involving two former champions, Intanon was on song from the first point of the match as she began with a 5-0 lead and never lost momentum through the course of the match.

Intanon was on a five-match losing streak against Saina but the last of those losses had come over two years ago at the 2018 Asian Games. Saina's struggles have manifested themselves over the last two years and she was again caught out of position often as the wristy Intanon mover her around the court with effortless ease.

This was just Sameer's second win against Lee in what was their seventh career meeting. Malaysia's Lee appeared to be coasting to a win while leading by a game and being up 18-12 in the second game, but Sameer mounted a stunning comeback from there on, saving multiple match points before prevailing in the deciding game. Sameer will now take on Denmark's Rasmus Gemke in the next round.

The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also advanced to the round of 16 after a 23-21, 21-18 win over the unseeded Danish pair of Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund in a match lasting 40 minutes. They will now face Germany's Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich in the next round.

In other results, Sourabh Verma lost 11-21, 16-21 to Indonesia's fifth-seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a lopsided opening round men's singles match. Parupalli Kashyap also made a swift exit after retiring while trailing 0-3 against Gemke.