It was a good start to the tournament for the Indian contingent at the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) in Wuhan, China.
Indian front-runners Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu all got through their first-round matches held on Wednesday.
Saina faced 19-year-old Singaporean Yeo Jia Min in the first round and comfortably went through to the round of 16 winning 21-12, 21-9.
Sindhu followed it up by beating the 22nd ranked Taiwanese Pai Yu-Po in straight games 21-14, 21-19.
In the men’s competition, there were a total of four Indians in action on Wednesday with three of them earning victories.
Former World No.1 Kidambi Srikanth who has now dropped four places, faced 11th ranked Kenta Nishimoto and started slowly. He lost the first game easily 13-21. Kidambi bounced back to win the next two 21-16, 21-16 to advance through to the second round.
B Sai Praneeth from Hyderabad beat 27th ranked player Suppanyu Avihingsanon from Thailand in a closely contested match. He won 21-13, 11-21, 21-19.
HS Pranoy who is currently ranked number 12 in the world, beat Kantaphon Wangcharoen from Thailand 2-1 in a thrilling match. The final score was 21-15, 19-21, 21-19.
The only men’s player to lose was Sameer Verma, who went down to Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in straight sets, 21-23, 17-21.
Kidambi Srikanth who took on 23rd ranked Wing Ki Vincent Wong of Hong Kong in the round of 16 on Thursday, has also progressed to the quarter-finals after his opponent retired hurt in the first game.
B Sai Praneeth will have his hands full against world number 3 Chen Long from China in the next round. While Prannoy will face number 11 Tzu Wei Wang from Taiwan who caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far, by beating former 5-time World Champion Lin Dan in three sets.
Saina and Sindhu will come into their pre-quarterfinals as favourites in their respective matches. Sindhu will face Xiaoxin Chen of China, while Saina will face Fangjie Gao, also from China.