Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2023: Saina Nehwal, Lakshya Sen, Satwik-Chirag ease into second round with comfortable wins

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An inspired Saina Nehwal found a way to get the better of Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in an hour and three minutes while defending champions Lakshya Sen and men’s doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty began their title defence of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open with comfortable victories on the opening day of the competition at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall here on Tuesday.

The only disappointing result for the vociferous Indian fans, who had been cheering the players through the day, was former champion PV Sindhu’s straight games loss against Thailand’s Supanida Kathethong.

Saina, who has been on a comeback ever since injuring her knee at the end of 2021, defeated Blichfeldt 21-17, 12-21, 21-19 to end the day on a winning note for the Indian contingent.

Earlier, Sen had defeated compatriot HS Prannoy 21-14, 21-15 while Satwik and Chirag beat Scotland’s Christopher and Matthew Grimley 21-13, 21-15 to advance to the next round. However, it was not to be PV Sindhu’s day as she went down 14-21, 20-22 against Katethong.

There were no other surprises on the opening day of the HSBC BWF World Tour Super 750 event with former women’s champion Ratchnok Intanon of Thailand, Spaniard Carolina Marin and China’s men’s singles star Shi Yu Qi advancing in contrasting fashion.

But the star of the day for the home crowd was undoubtedly Saina, who moved a lot better, control the rallies and fought hard when the chips were down to advance to the second round.

Among the other Indians in the fray, women’s doubles combination of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly had to held their nerves to get the better of the French combination of Margot Lambert and Anne Tran 22-20, 17-21, 21-18. They will now Chinese sixth seeded combination of Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu, who defeated Ashna Roy and Haritha MH 21-4, 21-2.

Earlier, Marin came up triumph in the clash of two former world champions beating Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-13, 21-18 in 39 minutes.