India’s Sindhu cruises into second round in Thailand
January 20 2021 12:13 AM
India’s Pusarla V Sindhu in action against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan during their singles first round match at the Toyota Thailand Open badminton tournament in Bangkok yesterday. India’s Kidambi Srikanth (inset) during his first round match against Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin. (AFP)


India’s PV Sindhu cruised into the second round of the Thailand Open yesterday to erase the memory of her surprise first round exit a week earlier.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist, was sheer class as she pummelled Thailand’s world number 12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-17, 21-13 in 42 minutes in Bangkok.
“It was a good game and I’m very, very happy. This win was very important for me in this tournament because at last week’s tournament, I went out in the first round,” said sixth seed Sindhu.
“So this win today was important, because even though in the first game it was tight, I didn’t want to make it easy.”
Sindhu fell to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in a shock a week ago in the first of back-to-back Thailand Opens.
Former world number one Saina Nehwal suffered a first round loss to Thai fifth ranked Ratchanok Intanon after fizzling out in the second set 21-17, 21-8.
The result is a blow to the Indian player, who is yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’ve played Newhal before and lost a few times and so I’ve learnt from those experiences. Newhal is one of the players I try to copy, she’s fast,” Intanon said.
Top seed Tai Tzu-ying from Taiwan bounced back from her final defeat to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the first tournament on Sunday, to beat Thailand’s Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11.
“I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” said Tai.
In the men’s singles, Malaysian 10th seed Lee Zii Jia faced an unexpected defeat against India’s Sameer Verma in a marathon 74 minute thriller.
Verma, ranked 31st in the world, hung on to claim the decider 18-21 27-25 21-19.
“I think from the start I made a lot of mistakes, but luckily I overcame that to claim the first game. It was a tough game 
for me and the second game was a long one. In the final game, you can see Sameer led the whole way. I tried my best,” Lee said.
Former world number one Kidambi Srikanth polished off Thailand’s 25th ranked Sitthikom Thammasin 21-11, 21-11.
The Indian, now ranked 14th, was forced to pull out of last week’s tournament with a calf muscle strain. Thailand is hosting three consecutive badminton tournaments in Bangkok culminating in the World Tour Finals from January 27. 
The players have been facing off in a bio-secure bubble minus spectators, although the first tournament was overshadowed by three positive coronavirus cases.
Indian shuttler B. Sai Praneeth has been withdrawn from the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said yesterday.
BWF said world number 13 Sai Praneeth returned a positive result on Monday and will be in hospital for at least 10 days.
“Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm India player Sai Praneeth B. has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been withdrawn from the Thailand Open,” the BWF said in a statement.
World number 14 Kidambi Srikanth has also withdrawn from the tournament and is in quarantine due to his close contact with Sai Praneeth, BWF said. 
Srikanth had returned a negative result on Monday.
Last week, India’s Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy were initially withdrawn from the tournament following positive results but were later cleared to play after re-testing.
The Thailand Open is the first tournament of the Asian leg of the BWF World Tour.

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