The Yonex Thailand Open badminton tournament began on Tuesday. The matches are being played at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
The first day turned out to be bittersweet for the Indian contingent as, with the pleasant victories of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy came the shocking losses of PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth. The news of Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy testing positive for COVID-19 shook the Indian fans waiting to see their favourite shuttlers in action.
In addition, Indian shuttler and Saina’s husband and roommate, Parupalli Kashyap was also asked to stay under observation in the hospital. It is yet to be determined if he is also positive for the virus. Canadian Jason Ho-Shue has been granted a walkover given that Kashyap will not be in a position to compete in his opening-round fixture.
PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth bite the dust
With Saina Nehwal being asked to withdraw, reigning world champion PV Sindhu became the only Indian in the womens single draws in the tournament. She went against 2019 European Games gold medalist Mia Blichfeldt in her first round. Although Sindhu went on the court as the fovourite in the match, the results didn’t turn out in her favour. She was hence, ousted from the Yonex Thailand Open in the opening round.
Blichfeldt produced the biggest upset in the competition so far by defeating the world no. 7 Sindhu. Although the 23-year old Danish player got off to a rusty start, she mustered enough courage to dig deep and gave a fantastic performance. The scores were 21-16, 24-26, 13-21.
“I can say that it was not my day because I played really well in the first game. In the second game, I should have finished it but there were some unforced errors on my side. In the third game, I gave Mia a huge lead, some points here and there, but it was not my day today basically,” PV Sindhu said following her opening-round loss.
2019 World Badminton Championships bronze medalist Sai Praneeth lost his first round against local favorite Kantaphon Wangcharoen. The match had gotten off to a cautious start as both the players exchanged some points. But the top-ranked Thai player in the competition soon accelerated the opening game.
The Indian shuttler struggled to find his rhythm and bowed out of the contest that lasted just under 40 minutes. The scores were, 16-21, 10-21.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa set off to a winning start
Indian mixed doubles players Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa won their opening round against the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja.
The Indian duo set an upset as they beat the world no. 8 pair in a neck-to-neck match. Rankireddy and Ponnappa secured the win in the first game. The second game seemed never-ending as both the pairs displayed a courageous performance. However, the Indonesian pair claimed that game, pushing the match to go for a decider.
After the draining second bout, the Indian duo made short work of their opponents as they clinched the final game and the match. The Indians looked comfortable although allowing their opponents back into the match with the nerve-racking second game. The scores of the match were, 21-11, 27-29, 21-16. The world no. 36 pair will next face the Chinese duo of Chang Tak Ching and NG Wing Yung.
The womens doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Reddy N. Sikki will go against Korean duo Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong on Tuesday.