- Saina beat Okuhara 21-15, 21-14.
- Kidambi Srikanth lost to Zhao Junpeng of China 19-21, 21-19, 12-21.
- Sindhu drubbed 33rd ranked Mette Poulsen 21-10, 21-11.
NEW DELHI: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal beat defending champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan to advance to the All England Open second round on Wednesday.
Saina beat Okuhara 21-15, 21-14. Saina improved her head-to-head record to 6-1 against the inconsistent Japanese. They met in the first round because Okuhara was ranked 11th.
In the men’s singles, India’s Kidambi Srikanth lost to Zhao Junpeng of China 19-21, 21-19, 12-21.
Lee Chong Wei overcame his pained left knee to play his favorite badminton tournament one last time as he opened the All England Open with a quick win over French qualifier Brice Leverdez 21-15, 21-12 in 35 minutes.
Chong Wei and the other big names advanced, including defending champion Lin Dan and Chinese teammate and two-time champ Chen Long.
No. 4 seed Son Wan-ho of South Korea retired hurt after two minutes to Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.
Top-ranked Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan was on course to meet Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu in the quarterfinals, and Olympic champion Carolina Marin, who won All England in 2015, will play No. 9-ranked He Bingjiao of China for the first time in the second round.
Earlier, Sindhu drubbed 33rd ranked Denmark’s Mette Poulsen 21-10, 21-11 for a comfortable win in her first round match.
In the men’s singles, HS Prannoy came from a game down to beat Qiao Bin 17-21 22-20 21-19.
In the qualifiers earlier, the Verma brothers — Sourabh and Sameer — lost in the opening round, while Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy won the first match before losing in the second round, failing to make the main draw.
Sameer, who had reached the finals at Hong Kong Open, lost 17-21 12-21 to Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai, while National champion Sourabh’s fight against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia ended with a 10-21 21-14 20-22 loss here.
Ashwini and Sikki defeated England combination of Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker 21-17 16-21 24-22 in the first round and then lost 15-21 21-18 18-21 to Swiss Nadia Fankhauser and Sannatasah Saniru of Malaysia in the second round.