Olympic medallists P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal made a resounding start to their women's singles campaign but it was Sameer Verma who hogged the limelight with a stunning straight-game win over Korean Son Wan Ho in men's event in the opening round of India Super Series in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu streamrolled compatriot Arundhati Pantawane 21-17, 21-6, while London Games bronze medallist Saina defeated Chinese Taipei's Chia Hsin Lee 21-10, 21-17 in a lop-sided contest.
"I gifted her seven points, I was a bit anxious to finish the match. The score should have been 21-10, 21-10. She is a tricky player. She also plays doubles, so some of her strokes were difficult to gauge. I am happy with my movement," said World No. 8 Saina, who will face Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong next.
World No. 5 Sindhu, who will next take on unseeded Saena Kawakami of Japan, said: "It was a good match. It was close in the first game but I took a lead in the second early on. I am focused on the next game, taking one match at a time."
Sameer, who had clinched his maiden Grand Prix Gold title at Syed Modi International, shocked fourth seeded Korean Son Wan Ho 21-17, 21-10 in a 45-minute contest to set up a clash with Hong Kong's Hu Yun in the next round.
"Son was injured in All England. I was prepared and also saw a few videos. I played a lot of cross-court shots, he was finding it difficult to bend to retrieve the shots. His cross court is also strong. It is a good win but it is just first round so I need to capitalize on it. I need to be consistent," Sameer said.
It was a delightful day for the Verma brothers as Sameer's elder brother Sourabh also reached the second round with a 21-13, 21-16 win over compatriot H S Prannoy, who had his right knee tapped due to a freak injury at Swiss Open.
Sai Praneeth, finalist at Lucknow and who recently recovered from a shoulder injury, staved off a challenge from Japan's Kenta Nishimoto to win 16-21, 21-12, 21-19. He will play seventh seed Chou Tien Chen next.
Meanwhile, 2015 champion Kidambi Srikanth fought back from 1-8 down in the first game to eventually notch up a 21-19, 21-16 win over China's Zhao Junpeng. He will face Olympic bronze medallist Victor Axelsen next.
Ajay Jayaram gave a good fight before going down 21-23, 17-21 to third seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
National champion Rituparna Das also produced a scintillating performance to eke out a 19-21, 21-15, 21-19 win over Chinese Taipei's Chiang Mei Hui.
In women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy defeated the England pair of Gabrielle Adcock and Jessica Pugh 21-16, 21-16. The Indian duo will face fourth seeded Thai pair of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai next.
Seventh seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki defeated Indonesian combo of Hafiz Faizal and Shela Devi Aulia 21-15, 21-19.
Saena Kawakami of Japan ended Rasika Raje's campaign beating her 21-10, 21-12, while Reshma Karthik lost 9-21, 8-21 to Zhang Yiman of China and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli lost 11-21, 13-21 to second seeded Sung Ji Hyun of Korea. Pardeshi Shreyanshi suffered a 14-21 18-21 defeat to Linda Zetchiri of Bulgaria.
Tanvi Lad retired midway at 6-2 due to an injury, while P C Thulasi suffered a 15-21, 16-21 loss to seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan while Anura Prabhudesai lost to Sayaka Sato of Japan 21-17, 21-16.
In men's doubles, it turned out to be a disappointing day as Vietnam Open winners Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost 14-21, 17-21 to Denmark's Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.
Among other Indians in fray, women's pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant, and Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram, Juhi Dewangan and Saumya Singh, Kuhoo Garg and Ningshi Block Hazarika, Gauri Asaji and Megha Morchana Bora, Sruthi K P and Haritha Manazhiyil Harinarayanan, Mahima Aggarwal and Maneesha K also crashed out in first round.
Also crashed out were Arjun M R and Ramchandran Shlok, men's pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, Jishnu Sanyal and Shivam Sharma, Sourabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh, Ketan Chahal and Tanveer Gill, M Anilkumar Raju and Venkat Gaurav Prasad.