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Thailand Masters 2020: Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma crash out from opening round

Saina and Srikanth are placed at the 22nd and 23rd spots in BWF’s rankings as April 26 has been set as the deadline date for Tokyo Olympics qualification.

SNS | New Delhi |

The poor run of Indian shuttlers continued as Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma were knocked out of the Thailand Masters 2020 after they lost their respective first-round matches on Wednesday.

Fifth-seeded Srikanth lost 21-12, 14-21, 11-21 to Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia in the match which lasted 48 minutes to mark his third consecutive first-round exit.

The 26-year-old had endured a similar fate in this year’s Indonesia Masters, where he was defeated by Rhustavito as well, and Malaysia Masters. The defeat has further dented his hope of making it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Verma, on the other hand, was outplayed by Zii Jia in straight games. In the match which lasted 38 minutes, Verma lost 16-21,  15-21.

The Indian contingent will next see Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy begin their campaign in the Thailand Open. While Saina will start against Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt, Prannoy will face Malaysia’s Liew Daren in the first round.

Nehwal will also try her luck to earn the much-important Olympic qualification during one of the lowest points of her career. In the recently-concluded Indonesia Masters and Malaysia Masters, she lost in the first round and quarterfinals respectively.

Defending Indonesia Masters champion Saina lost 21-19, 13-21, 5-21 to Sayaka Takahashi in a gruelling fight which lasted for 50 minutes. In the Malaysia Masters, the world number 11 lost to the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Carolina Marin in straight games 21-7, 21-7

Saina and Srikanth are placed at the 22nd and 23rd spots in BWF’s rankings as April 26 has been set as the deadline date for Tokyo Olympics qualification.

As per BWF Olympics qualification regulations, just a couple of shuttlers each from the singles category could qualify if their ranking lies within the top-16.

(With IANS inputs)