As it happened - Thailand Open 2021: Indian badminton players endure a mixed day

Indian badminton ace PV Sindhu bowed out, Satwik-Ashwini bagged a win while Saina Nehwal withdrew due to COVID-19. Relive the opening day of the Yonex Thailand Open.

By Naveen Peter ·

4:45 PM IST: Mixed day for Indians

That brings us to the end of the Indian action on the opening day of the Yonex Thailand Open. 

While Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa impressed with their win over Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja, the others couldn't follow suit with PV Sindhu being the biggest casualty. 

Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap had to withdraw from the competiton with Nehwal and Prannoy testing positive for COVID-19 in a test conducted on Monday. 

On Wednesday, former world no. 1 Srikanth Kidambi and the defending champion men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, among others will be in action at the IMPACT Arena.

4:40 PM IST: Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy bow out

That's the end of the road for the India women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy. 

The world no. 28 pair fall short against South Korea's Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong in the opening round of the Yonex Thailand Open.

In what was a straight games loss, the Indian pair hardly troubled the fourth seeds who ran away winners with a 21-16, 21-7 scoreline.

Score: 16-21, 7-21

4:30 PM IST: South Koreans in cruise mode

There's no stopping Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong as they continue their surge in this match. 

Though the Indians have tried their bit, it's proving to be too little against a superior opponent in the fourth seeds. 

Score: 16-21, 6-11

4:20 PM IST: Ashwini-Sikki stare at a tough task

The world no. 6 pair of Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong take look in complete control of the tie as they take the opening game 21-16. 

The Indians have played second fiddle so far and will have to up their game to stay in contention.

Score: 16-21

4:10 PM IST: South Koreans with the early advantage

Though Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy began brightly, the Indian pair fail to hold on to the advantage as Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong take an early 11-9 lead in the opening game. 

The Indians will need something special to get back against the fourth seeds.

Score: 9-11

3:50 PM IST: Ashwini Ponnappa is back

Having won her mixed doubles tie earlier in the day, Ashwini Ponnappa is back on the court to partner N Sikki Reddy in their women's doubles match.

The Indian pair face the fourth seed Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong of South Korea in the first round of the Yonex Thailand Open.

The two pairs have faced off twice in their careers so far with the South Korean clinching both the ties in comfortable fashion.

I can say that it was not my day because I played really well in the first game. In the second game, I should have finished it but there were some unforced errors on my side. In the third game, I gave Mia a huge lead, some points here and there, but it was not my day today basically.” PV Sindhu following her opening-round loss at the Yonex Thailand Open.

2:20 PM IST: PV Sindhu ousted!!!

What a turn around this has been. From saving match points in the second game to beating the reigning world champion, Mia Blichfeldt has put up a fantastic performance to beat India's PV Sindhu in the opening round of the Yonex Thailand Open.

The 23-year-old looked down and out in the initial half of the match but mustered enough courage to dig deep and produce the upset of the competiton so far.

Score: 21-16, 24-26, 13-21

2:07 PM IST: Mia Blichfeldt builds on

Mia Blichfeldt has carried on from where she left in the second game. The Dane has been the better of the two shuttlers with PV Sindhu often finding it hard to keep up with the Dane. 

It's a five-point lead at the mid-game interval. Is this the turning point?

Score: 21-16, 24-26, 6-11

2:00 PM IST: Sai Praneeth bites the dust

Meanwhile, B Sai Praneeth has lost his first-round tie at the Yonex Thailand Open. 

Facing the local favourite Kantaphon Wangcharoen, the Indian shuttler was struggling to find his rhythm and bowed out of the contest that lasted for just under 40 minutes.

Score: 16-21, 10-21

1:54 PM IST: Mia Blichfeldt fights back

The top-ranked Dane is not giving up without a fight!

The world No. 18 roars back into the contest with a spirited display to take the second game 26-24 against PV Sindhu.

She was down and out at the interval, but Mia Blichfeldt did ever so well to force the issue and push the match into a decider. The momentum, well and truly with the Dane.

Score: 21-16, 24-26

Mia Blichfeldt showed great determination to take the second game 26-24. Photo: Badmintonphoto - Courtesy of BWF

1:32 PM IST: No stopping PV Sindhu

The Olympic silver medallist looks to be in a hurry to wrap up the match. Quick returns, powerful strokes and some cheeky drop shots help PV Sindhu manage an 11-8 lead in the second game.

How much longer before she wraps up the tie?

Score: 21-16, 11-8

1:27 PM IST: Sai Praneeth on the back foot

Meanwhile, B Sai Praneeth has had no such momentum going his way as he's lost his opening game 21-16 to top-ranked Thai in the competition, Kantaphon Wangcharoen.

Though the match got off to a cautious start with both the shuttlers exchanging a few points, Wangcharoen was soon to accelerate to take the opening game.

Score: 16-21

1:25 PM IST: PV Sindhu gets her nose ahead

Indian shuttler has grown in confidence as the match has progressed and it's no surprise that the world no. 7 has taken the opening game 21-16.

Though Mia Blichfeldt poked and probed her opponent with her smart movements to reduced the deficit, the Indian ace looked in command as she used the court to her advantage to work the angles well and take the opening game.

Score: 21-16

1:13 PM IST: PV Sindhu off to a rusty start

PV Sindhu leads the opening game 11-7 at the mid-game interval. But it's been a far from convincing performance from the world champion.

Lack of competitive action for over 10 months is visible in the way PV Sindhu us going about her business so far. Be it her judgements calls or shot selections, the Indian shuttler has allowed Mia Blichfeldt enough opportunities to challenge her.

Score: 11-7

1:00 PM IST: World champion PV Sindhu takes centre stage

Up next, the reigning world champion PV Sindhu will take the court for her first-round tie of the Yonex Thailand Open. The Indian ace will b up against the 2019 European Games champion Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.

The two have faced thrice in their careers so far with PV Sindhu emerging victorious on all the occasions.

Meanwhile, the 2019 World Badminton Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth is all set to face local favourite Kantaphon Wangcharoen on the adjacent court.

10:05 AM IST: Saina Nehwal pulls out

One of India's leading shuttlers Saina Nehwal has been forced to pull out of the Yonex Thailand Open after testing positive for COVID-19, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) confirmed.

The Indian ace, who was inside a bio-bubble in Bangkok since January 4, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in her third examination on Monday. The 30-year-old has been taken to a nearby hospital to quarantine herself for at least 10 days.

BAI also confirmed that HS Prannoy too had tested positive for COVID-19 and has announced his withdrawal from the competiton.

Saina Nehwal's husband Parupalli Kashyap has also been quarantined and taken to hospital for further tests since he was in close proximity to his wife. It is yet to be determined if Parupalli Kashyap is also COVID-19 positive.

Meanwhile, Canada's Jason Ho-Shue has been granted a walkover given that Kashyap will not be in a position to compete in his opening-round fixture at the Yonex Thailand Open.

10:00 AM IST: Winning start for Indian badminton

After a draining second game, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa make short work of their opponents in the decider.

A comfortable 21-16 in the third sees through to the second round of the Yonex Thailand Open.

The Indians looked in complete control of the match despite allowing their opponents back into the contest in that never-ending second game.

The world No. 36 Indian pair will take on Chang Tak Ching and NG Wing Yung next.

Score: 21-11, 27-29, 11-6, 21-16

9:50 AM IST: Indian shuttlers steal the momentum

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa are at it again. They lead the decider 11-6 at the break.

It's a war of attrition from here on. Who can stay in this for long?

Score: 21-11, 27-29, 11-6

9:35 AM IST: Faiza, Widjaja clinch it after nerve-racking affair

Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja get back into the tie by taking the second game 27-29.

It looked like a never-ending contest with both the pairs displaying some nerveless badminton. But in the end, it's the Indonesians who stay clam to pocket the second and push the match into a decider.

Score: 21-11, 27-29

9:28 AM IST: Faizal, Widjaja put up a fight

A much more competitive start to the second game. Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja have grown in confidence as the match has progressed. The errors have reduced and there's a lot more conviction in their play.

The Indians, however, manage to eke out an 11-10 lead at the mid-game interval.

Score: 21-11, 11-10

9:18 AM IST: Satwik, Ashwini clinch opening game

It's a lopsided match so far. Indians take the opening game 21-11.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa barely show any signs of rust as they cruise through the opening game at the IMPACT Arena.

The world No. 36 pair has put up a fine show with Satwiksairaj's powerful game complementing Ponnappa's work at the net.

Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja have been wayward in their approach, finding it hard to keep the shuttle in play for long.

Score: 21-11

9:10 AM IST: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Ashwini Ponnappa take court

The Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa are off to a flying start here at the Thailand Open. They lead the opening game 11-5 against Indonesia's Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja at the mid-game interval.

The Indians are doing well to rotate themselves with Ashwini Ponnappa chipping in with some valuable points from the backcourt.

The sixth seed Indonesians will need to up their game to challenge this Indian pair.

Score: 11-5

8:30 AM IST: International badminton is back!

International badminton action returns with the Yonex Thailand Open today.

After a season disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thailand Open will be an opportunity for shuttlers to get back into their groove before the Olympic qualification window reopens in March.

India has fielded a strong team for the year’s first event with Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal leading the line.

While PV Sindhu will be up against the 2019 European Games gold medallist Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the opening round, Saina Nehwal will take on Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia in the first round.

Other Indian badminton players in action on the opening day include Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth in the men’s singles while Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will line up against the fourth seeds, Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong of South Korea in their women’s doubles round one encounter.

But first up, it’s the Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa facing the sixth seeds, Indonesia’s Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Widjaja.