Saina Nehwal Enters Second Round of All England Open Badminton Championships

Meanwhile Saina Nehwal, seeded eight, had drawn perhaps the most improbable first round in the tournament's 117-year history - the former world number one from India is up against Nozomi Okuhara, the All-England titleholder from Japan.

In Women's singles, 2015 finalist Saina Nehwal registered a comfortable 21-15, 21-14 win against defending champion Nozumi Okuhara in 38 minutes.

In the men's singles, H S Prannoy came from a game down to beat Qiao Bin 17-21, 22-20, 21-19, but it was curtains for Kidambi Srikanth as he lost to Zhao Junpeng of China 19-21, 21-19, 12-21.

The All England Open presents a flawless opportunity for the two-time World Championship bronze medallist to further elevate her profile and India hope she becomes the first woman from the country to lift the title.

In men's singles, K Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth will face the qualifiers in the first match, while Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold champion Sameer Verma will lock horns with fourth seeded Korean Son Wan Ho and Ajay Jayaram will have to get past third seed and Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen of Denmark. Srikanth, now ranked 29th, took the middle game but ran out of steam in the decider to lose 19-21, 21-19, 12-21 in 57 minutes. Jayaram's exit, though, was in straight games to Yuxiang Huang (19-21, 13-21). In the doubles department, Meghana Jakkampudi/Ram Poorvisha (women's doubles) and Manu Attri/B.

Another Indian pairing of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy take the court last on the day in the mixed doubles event. They lost 19-21, 12-21 to Hsu Ya Ching and Wu Ti Jung of Chinese Taipei.

While Sindhu will face Indonesia's Dinar Dyah Ayustine in the second round, Saina will be up against Fabienne Deprez of Germany later on Thursday.

  • Joanne Flowers