Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth won their opening matches at the World Championships in straight games to advance to the third and second round respectively in Nanjing on Tuesday. Sai Praneeth also moved to the second round after South Korea’s Son Wan Ho withdrew from the tournament with an injury.
Saina, who had received a bye in the first round by virtue of being seeded, recorded a straightforward 21-17, 21-8 victory over Turkey’s Aliye Demirbag. With this win, she entered the third round of the World Championships for the eighth consecutive time, making her the only currently active women’s singles player to do so. Saina will face fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon in the last 16.
Srikanth progressed with a 21-15, 21-16 win over Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen. He is the highest seed left in his half of the draw after second seed Lee Chong Wei pulled out on the eve of the tournament.
While Saina had won a bronze medal in the last edition in Glasgow in 2017, Srikanth had lost in the quarterfinals to Son.
Satwiksairaj-Satwik pull off stunning upset
In men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Olympic bronze medallists and reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallists Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, 21-19, 12-21, 21-19 in a thrilling first-round match. They will face eighth seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark in the next round.
Earlier in the day, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy also reached the third round in the mixed doubles event after teaming up with Ashwini Ponnappa. They upset the 15th-seeded German pair of Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich 10-21, 21-17, 21-18. They will now face the seventh-seeded Malaysian pairing of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lee.
Srikanth will take on Pablo Abian, while Praneeth will face Luis Enrique Penalver in the second round on Wednesday.
HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma had advanced to the second round after winning their opening matches on Monday. Prannoy will be pitted against Brazil’s Ygor Coelho while Verma will be up against five-time champion Lin Dan, who is seeded ninth this year.
PV Sindhu, who won silver in the last edition, will play her second round match on Wednesday against Indonesia’s Fitriani.