Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu made a positive start to her campaign in women's singles but Kidambi Srikanth suffered a straight game loss on the opening day of the $ 1 million Dubai Super Series Final, in Dubai on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Sindhu, who had a 4-5 head-to-head record against World No 9 He Bingjiao, dished out a gritty performance to overcome the left-handed Chinese 21-11, 16-21, 21-18 in a Group A match that lasted an hour and four minutes.
World No 4 Srikanth, however, couldn't bring out his top game as he suffered a 13-21, 17-21 loss to World No 1 and defending champion Viktor Axelsen in a Group B men's singles match that lasted just 38 minutes.
Sindhu faces Japan's Sayaka Sato next, while Srikanth will take on Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen on Thursday.
Playing an opponent she has faced twice this year, Sindhu showed good defence as she engaged her rival in rallies by putting the shuttle in awkward positions and tried to close out the points.
In the men's singles match, Srikanth seemed of-colour as Axelsen towered over the Indian with his better agility and placement.
Srikanth, who had snapped a three-match losing streak against the Dane with a win at the quarter-finals of Denmark Open, dominated the proceedings early on and lead 8-4 at one stage. He put Axelsen out of position with his returns to lead 10-7.
However, an attacking return by Axelsen followed by a wide shot by Srikanth helped the Dane to narrow the gap to 9-10, before Srikanth entered the break with two-point advantage when his rival found the net.
But the errors came back to haunt Srikanth as Axelsen grabbed the match point with a superb placement and then sealed the match when the Indian hit the net.