Reigning women's world champion PV Sindhu, men's World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth, and women's doubles pair Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost their first-round matches and crashed out of the Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament here on Tuesday.Sixth-seeded Sindhu lost 21-16, 24-26, 13-21 to world No.18 Mia Blichfeldt in a match that lasted 74 minutes. This was Sindhu's first tournament since the All England Open in March last year after which the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the badminton calendar. Her loss marked the end of India's challenge in the women's singles section of the Super 1000 event as Saina Nehwal was forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19.Ashwini and Sikki lost 21-15, 21-7 to South Korean fourth-seeded pair Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong. In a match that lasted 36 minutes, the Indians raced to an 8-3 lead in the first game. The Koreans, however, won five consecutive points to lead 9-8. Ashwini and Sikki then took the next point to level the game again but Kim and Kong pulled away after that. The second game was a more one-sided affair with the Indian pair being limited to a single digit score.
World Championship bronze medallist Sai Praneeth was also knocked out in the first round after suffering a 16-21, 10-21 defeat to world No.15 Kantaphon Wangcharoen. The match lasted just over half an hour.The Indians now left in the men's singles draw are Kidambi Srikanth, who will face compatriot Sourabh Verma in the first round, and Sameer Verma.Indian mixed doubles pair Ashwini and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy advanced to the second round of the tournament following a hard-fought win over Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.Rankireddy and Ashwini defeated their Indonesian opponents 21-11, 27-29, 21-16 in the opening round contest which lasted one hour and 12 minutes.They will next face the Chinese pair Chang Tak Ching and Ng Wing Yung for a place in the quarterfinals.Ashwini and Rankireddy will now feature in the women's and men's doubles matches with their partners N Sikki Reddy and Chirag Shetty respectively later on Tuesday.