Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu survived a scare but Saina Nehwal crashed out of the opening round of the Hong Kong Open World Tour Super 500 tournament.
Seeded third, Sindhu recovered a from a mid-game slump to overcome Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand 21-15, 13-21, 21-17 in an hour long match to progress into the pre-quarterfinals.
In a contrasting match, Nehwal went from a first set victory to losing 21-10, 10-21, 19-21 against World No.2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
World Championship silver medallist Sindhu started well and looked to make an easy work off Jindapol dismissing her without any difficulties in the first set. But the Thai opponent pushed the 23-year-old with powerful smashes, with Sindhu’s faltering game also helping Jindapol to take the game into the decider.
Sindhu though held on to eventually seal the victory and extend her head-to-head record with Jindapol to five wins in six meetings. She will next face world number 10 Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea.
The ninth-ranked Saina, however, went down despite winning the first set. Saina was energetic in the opening game and beat Yamaguchi to take a 21-10 lead but the Japanese bounced in the second winning 11 of the first 12 points, before winning it by a similar margin to force a decider.
Both the shuttlers fought stick on stick in the third game but with the third set levelled at 18-18, Nehwal made a series of errors to hand the victory to the second-ranked Japanese.
It was a similar story in the men’s singles category, where Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma progressed to the pre-quarters but B Sai Praneeth bowed out of the competition. Srikanth beat local favourite Vincent Wing Wong Ki 21-11, 21-15 in straight sets, while Verma surpassed Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 21-17, 21-14 to set up a clash with Olympic champion Chen Long.
Parupalli Kashyap, however, went down 16-21, 13-21 to bow out of the competition.