Two-time defending champion and fifth seed, India’s Sameer Verma, went down fighting to Ajay Jayaram 21-15, 18-21, 13-21 in the Syed Modi International Badminton Championship at Lucknow on Wednesday.
However, former champion Kidambi Srikanth got off to a flying start, outplaying Russia’s Vladimir Malkov 21-12, 21-11 to set up a second-round clash with Parupalli Kashyap.
Verma, who won the 2017 and 2018 editions, found Jayaram a tough customer despite winning the first game. Though Jayaram trailed 9-11 in the second game, he staged a comeback with some eye-catching dribbles at the net, wresting the game 21-18.
In the match, which lasted a little over an hour, Verma had no answer to Jayaram’s tosses and court coverage and lost 13-21.
Srikanth had an easy outing prevailing in straight games, while Kashyap got a walkover from Frenchman Lucas Corvee. India’s new badminton sensation Lakshya Sen, who won the Scottish Open last week, also got a walkover as another French player Thomas Rouxel withdrew from the competition.
Fourth seed B Sai Praneeth notched up a straight-game win against Malaysia’s Iskardar Zulkarnain 21-16, 22-20, HS Prannoy came from behind to beat China’s Li Shi Feng 18-21, 22-20, 21-13, Sourabh Verma beat Xiaodong Sheng of Canada 21-11, 21-16, while qualifier Alam Mishra beat Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius 21-16, 21-16.
In the women’s section, Ashmita Chaliha beat Vrushali Gummadi 21-16, 21-16, Shruti Mundad overcame compatriot Riya Mookerjee 17-21, 21-12, 21-13, Rituparna Das beat Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 21-19, 21-19 and qualifier Tanvi Lad brushed aside Russia’s Natalia Perminova 21-18, 17-21, 21-16.
Three-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who has struggled with injuries in the recent past, showed no mercy against Bulgarian Linda Zetchiri, winning 21-16, 21-11 in 32 minutes.