Birmingham: Star shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth prevailed in tough first-round battles but Saina Nehwal exited from the prestigious All England Championship after suffering a straight-game defeat against World No. 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu-Ying here on Wednesday.
World No 3 Srikanth recovered from a lop-sided opening game to struggle past France's Brice Leverdez, ranked 23, 7-21 21-14 22-20, while Olympic and world championship silver medallist Sindhu staved off a stiff challenge from Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong to prevail 20-22 21-17 21-9 in a 56-minute contest.
Srikanth will square off against either China's Huang Yuxiang or England's Rajiv Ouseph, while Sindhu faces the winner of the match between USA's Beiwen Zhang and Thailand's Nitchaon Jindapol.
Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth squandered an opening game advantage to go down 21-13 15-21 11-21 to fifth seed Korean Son Wan Ho.
Srikanth was no match for Leverdez in the first game as he failed to execute his strokes properly with most going wide and long. After a pep talk with coach Pullela Gopichand, Srikanth came back strongly in the second game.
He looked more aggressive and his approach earned him dividends as he forced the match into the decider after winning 21-14.
In the third game, Srikanth was comfortably placed at 11-6 but Leverdez made fantastic recovery to make it 12-12. The duo fought hard and moved neck and neck till 18-18. Leverdez then won a long rally to grab a 19-18 advantage but Srikanth drew parity.
The Frenchman held a match point but the Indian once again levelled par and grabbed a match point, before managing to convert it.-PTI