New Delhi: Predictably, top seeded men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei who is eyeing for his fourth India Open title after emerging triumphant in 2011, 2013 and 2014, beat his overmatched Japanese opponent Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 21-17 to reach the second round of India Open on Wednesday. Lee Chong Wei will play face Wei Nan of Hong Kong next. Wei Nan will be a tough nut to crack as Lee lost to the Hong Kong player in the second round of Denmark Open last year.
Reigning All England champion Lin Dan of China has joined Lee in the second round after the Chinese superstar stopped Sourabh Varma of India in a straight-sets affair with 21-18, 21-9.
Lin will play Son Wan Ho of Korea next. Son breezed past Wang Zhengming 21-15, 21-12 to advance to the second round.
On the other hand, defending champion and home favorite Kidambi Srikanth couldn’t convert in several key moments as he went down to Tian Houwei of China 13-21, 21-17, 22-24.
In men’s doubles, although unseeded, Malaysia’s top men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong enjoyed a stellar performance by outlasting No. 8 seeds Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China 21-19, 21-18 in their opener. Goh/Tan will play another young and tough Chinese pair Wang Yilyu/Zhang Wen in the second round.
Surprisingly, former Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) players Hoon Thien How/Teo Kok Siang also mounted a comeback to shock World No. 43 Liu Cheng/Lu Kai 21-14, 15-21, 21-18 on Wednesday. Hoon/Teo will take on No. 5 seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol of Korea next for a quarter-final berth.
Despite putting up a valiant fight, former World No. 1 pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong bowed out 12-21, 21-23 to second seeds Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang of South Korea.
In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu started their campaigns with spectacular wins. Nehwal rolled past teammate Tanvi Lad 21-7, 21-13 while Sindhu got the better of Jeanine Cicognini of Italy 21-8, 21-8 to advance to the pre-quarterfinals.