Kidambi Srikanth’s Yonex-Sunrise India Open title defence was stopped in the first round as he ran into a familiar nemesis.
Srikanth, whose last World Superseries title came here a year ago, suffered yet another loss to Tian Houwei – his sixth in seven matches. In what turned out to be a thriller, the Indian made a brave comeback at the end with five straight points, but Tian just about managed to edge through 21-13 17-21 24-22.
Tian will take on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, who too prevailed in a tight match over Srikanth’s compatriot Ajay Jayaram 21-12 13-21 21-19. Also making the second round were Indonesian qualifier Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Hong Kong’s Wei Nan and last year’s runner-up Viktor Axelsen (Denmark).
China’s Chen Qingchen (featured image) and Jia Yi Fan could do no wrong today as they took down higher-rated pairs in both their disciplines.
Chen and Jia, the World Junior champions, upset Women’s Doubles No.7 seeds Lee So Hee/Chang Ye Na before winning their respective Mixed Doubles matches.
Chen combined with Wang Yilyu to send Dubai World Superseries Finals champions Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock packing. The No.4 seeds from England enjoyed a comfortable first game win but Wang and Chen stormed back and third with plenty to spare: 11-21 21-17 21-13.
Jia Yi Fan likewise had a profitable day in Mixed Doubles, combining with Zhang Wen to stop Kim Gi Jung/Shin Seung Chan 22-20 13-21 21-15.
Lee So Hee and Chang Ye Na had only themselves to blame for their loss in the Women’s Doubles. The Koreans led by a game and 18-15, but a spell of uncertain play helped their Chinese challengers to knock off five points in a row. The Koreans kept themselves in the hunt, but fell on the fifth game point, after which it was all downhill in the deciding game: 14-21 25-23 21-13.
Two other strong Chinese pairs progressed. Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang and Tang Jinhua/Huang Yaqiong set up a second round clash after beating Japanese opponents. Tang/Yu struggled to get past Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito, while Huang/Tang had it easier against recent Skycity New Zealand Open champions Sayaka Hirota/Yuki Fukushima in straight games.
Bulgaria’s Stoeva sisters – Gabriela and Stefani – made it past Germany’s Birgit Michels/Isabel Herttrich 21-16 21-19, while fellow-Europeans Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark) needed three games to get past Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching/Pai Yu Po.
Among the teams to progress in Mixed Doubles were Korea’s Shin Baek Choel/Chae Yoo Jung and Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na; Japan’s Keigo Sonoda/Naoko Fukuman and Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara; Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah and USA’s Phillip Chew/Jamie Subandhi. Korea’s Choi Solgyu/Eom Hye Won were dealt an upset by India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy.
All the favoured pairs progressed in Men’s Doubles, including defending champions Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China) and second seeds Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang (Korea). Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How/Teo Kok Siang surprised China’s Liu Cheng/Liu Kai 21-14 15-21 21-18 in one of the most entertaining matches of the day. Their compatriots Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong also made the second round, beating another Chinese pair, Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, in straight games.
Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi nearly stumbled in the first round. USA’s Iris Wang ran away with the first game before the Japanese pulled level; Yamaguchi had a comfortable lead at the home stretch, but Wang steadily gained on her with five of six points and made it 19-all. Just when an upset seemed on the cards, Yamaguchi sneaked past: 12-21 21-5 21-19. Yamaguchi next faces Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, who blew past Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 22-20 21-15.