Srikanth wins, Satwik-Ashwini pair registers stunning victory in Swiss Open opening round

Basel, Mar 03 (PTI): Top Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth staved off a spirited challenge from compatriot Sameer Verma to make a winning start to his campaign at the Swiss Open Super 300 tournament here on Wednesday.
The fourth seeded Indian, who had claimed the title in 2015, took a little over an hour to see off 2018 winner Sameer 18-21 21-18 21-11 in a hard-fought men’s singles opening round match.
World No. 13 Srikanth, an Olympic hopeful, will be up against either France’s Thomas Rouxel or Canada’s Xiaodong Sheng in the next round.
Last night, Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa notched up an upset 21-18 21-10 win over the world no. 8 and second-seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the opening round.
Satwik and Ashwini, who reached the semifinals of the Toyota Thailand Open Super 1000 event in January, had earlier defeated the Indonesian combination at the Yonex Thailand Open in a thrilling three-game match in January.
The world no. 19 duo, who have been training under new foreign coach Mathias Boe for the last one month, will face another Indonesian pair — Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari — next. Another Indian shuttler, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, who was returning to action after a COVID-19 pandemic break, didn’t have a good outing as he along with his mixed doubles partner N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21 15-21 to the third-seeded English pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in 39 minutes. Swiss Open is the first event of the extended Olympic qualification period which will end on June 15.

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