Winning starts for Saina, Sindhu and Prannoy at Hong Kong Open

Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy made positive starts to their campaign, progressing to the second round of $400,000 Hong Kong Open Super Series on Wednesday.

London Olympics bronze medalist Saina staved off a spirited challenge from World No. 44 Mette Poulsen of Denmark before emerging 21-19, 23-21 winner in a 46-minute match.

World No. 11 Saina, who won the bronze at the World Championship, will next face a tough opponent in eighth seeded Chinese Chen Yufei, who had clinched the other bronze at the Glasgow Worlds in August.

Olympic silver medalist Sindhu, seeded second, disposed off Hong Kong’s Leung Yuet Yee 21-18, 21-10 to set up a clash with Japan’s Aya Ohori.

In men’s singles competition, Prannoy survived a scare against Hong Kong’s Hu Yun to win 19-21, 21-17, 21-15 in a match that lasted a little over an hour.

The World No. 10 Indian will face Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai, who had defeated the Indian in the semi-finals of Indonesia Open Super Series Premier.

However, Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap squandered an opening game advantage to go down narrowly 21-15, 9-21, 20-22 to Korean Lee Dong Keun, while Sourabh Verma failed to put up a fight against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto, losing 15-21, 8-21 to bow out of the competition.

B Sai Praneeth also lost his first round match against second seeded Son Wan Ho of Korea 8-21, 16-21.

Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy played their hearts out before going down 11-21, 21-19, 19-21 against the Chinese combo of Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei in a hard-fought contest.

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