Bangkok: Star India shuttler Saina Nehwal and former world number one Kidambi Srikanth entered the second rounds of their respective events but Parupalli Kashyap made an early exit from the Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament, on Wednesday.
Saina got the better of Selvaduray Kisona of Malaysia 21-15, 21-15 in the women's singles opening round to set up a clash with Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Saina, who was first forced to withdraw from the event for positive COVID-19 results on Tuesday but later returned a negative test, thanked the Badminton World Federation officials and doctors for allowing her to participate.
"Yesterday, I was given a positive COVID-19 result after my PCR test but I already told them that I had COVID last November, so I have antibodies. I tried to explain this to the doctor and after my blood tests and chest X-rays the doctor said I was OK and I don't have COVID-19," Saina said after her win.
"I am thankful to the doctors, the BWF and everyone who made the decision for me to play. It was a tiring day but I am happy I could comeback and play my match."
Earlier in the day, Srikanth took just 31 minutes to prevail over compatriot Sourabh Verma 21-12, 21-11 in the men's singles, but Kashyap was forced to retire midway in his opening-round match against Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada. Kashyap, a Commonwealth Games champion, was trailing 8-14 in the third game when he chose to retire after puling his calf muscle.
He had lost the first game 9-21 before making a comeback to take the second 21-13.
Srikanth will next play eight seed Zii Jia Lee of Malaysia, who defeated another Indian HS Prannoy 13-21 21-14 21-8.
Sameer Verma too made a first round exit after losing 15-21 17-21 to Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia.
In the men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty came from behind to defeat the South Korean pair of Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae 19-21 21-16 21-14.
The two were delighted by the win over their idol.
"Lee Yong Dae was an idol for both of us when we were started, so it was excellent playing him today, and we are happy to get the win," Satwiksairaj said.
"Our strategy was to attack as much as possible, but not to hurry. We gave up some points in the first game by hurrying too much. But we always knew what we had to do," Chirag added.
However, it was curtains for Arjun Madathil Ramachandran and Dhruv Kapila, who lost to the Malaysian duo of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 21-13, 8-21, 22-24.
Another Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also lost in the opening round to Thai duo of Weeraphat Phakjarung and Wongsathorn Thongkham 19-21 14-21.
The mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Sumeeth Reddy B also failed to cross the opening hurdle, losing to Chung Man Tang and Yong Suet Tse 20-22, 17-21.
Carolina Marin makes winning return
Spain's Carolina Marin sailed through the Thailand Open badminton first round as she made a fast start to her season, six months before her Olympic title defence.
The former world number one made short work of France's 37th ranked Qi Xuefei, winning the first game in just 15 minutes before sealing it 21-10, 21-12.
The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive restart tournaments in Bangkok as badminton resumes after a coronavirus-ravaged 2020.
"I feel really happy to be back on court after some months without tournaments. I have really missed it a lot," said Marin.
Gran victoria en el primer partido del aÃ±o! Seguimos! 💪🏻🐺🔥 Great victory in the first match of the year! Onwards! 🏸🇹🇭#PuedoPorquePiensoQuePuedo #CourtsAreCalling #YonexThailandOpen pic.twitter.com/2gr92iy6uw
" Carolina MarÃn (@CarolinaMarin) January 13, 2021
"I wanted to get back this competition feeling, that adrenaline. I came with determination to win but also to keep my focus on my game plan.
"Winning here is what I want. I would like to win a title here."
It was the 27-year-old's first international outing since losing the Danish Open final in October.
Thailand's best hope, former world number one, Ratchanok Intanon is through to round two after polishing off Singapore's Yeo Jia Min, ranked 26 in straight sets; 21-15, 21-15.
In the men's singles, third seed Anders Antonsen made a surprise early exit in the first round going down to Malaysia's Liew Daren ranked 41st: 21-12, 21-18.
"Before this tournament, I didn't know I would even play because I was on the reserves list, so to make it at the last minute and also win my first round against the third seed, it has really surprised me," Liew said, adding in the lead up his training had been disrupted by a coronavirus lockdown.
Meanwhile, Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk ranked 39th forced world number two Taiwan shuttler Chou Tien-chen into a three-set decider.
The local came out firing in the first game 16-21 but quickly lost momentum going down 21-10, 21-14.
With inputs from PTI and AFP.