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All of England: Saina Neval retires due to injury, four Indians enter 2nd round of men’s singles

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Image source: GETTY IMAGES

File photo of Saina Neval.

Four Indian men’s shuttles, including Olympic hopeful B Sai Praneeth, advanced to the second round, but former world number one Saina Nehwal was forced to concede her first women’s singles match after suffering an injury at the All England Championships here.

Saina, who finished second here in 2015, looked uncomfortable with her right thigh and decided to retire after falling behind 8-21, 4-10 back in her first-round match against seventh-seeded Mia Bichfeld from Denmark on Wednesday night.

In the men’s singles, the 15th Praneeth of the world tested Frenchman Thomas Junior Popov 21-18, 22-20, while HS Prannoy, a former Top 10 player, eliminated Malaysian Daren Liew 21-10, 21-10.

Sameer Verma also did better with Brazilian Ygor Coelho 21-11 21-19, while teenager Lakshya Sen stunned Thailand’s world number 18 Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-18 21-12 to reach the second round.

However, Prannoy and Praneeth have a difficult task, as in the second round on Thursday they take the number 1 in the world Kento Momota and World No 2 Viktor Axelsen.

While the first-class Momota returned to the international circuit after a horrific car crash last year that saw him undergo eye surgery, the second family Axelsen was in formidable form, claiming the two super 1000 titles in Thailand and the Swiss Open.

Sameer, on the other hand, will be itching for revenge against third-seeded Anders Antonsen of Denmark after coming close to him at the Toyota Thailand Open in January.

Lakshia, who is vying for five titles in 2019, will face Frenchman Thomas Ruksel.

In the mixed doubles Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy went down 15-21 17-21 to the Danes Rasmus Espersen and Christine Busch in the starting round.

Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu will also be seen in action later in the day against Dane Laine Christoffersen.

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