Birch Smith India 1200

January 17, 2023

English interest came to an end in the opening round of the YONEX SUNRISE India Open on Tuesday.

Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith were the first English pair competing in New Delhi, looking to continue their comeback after Smith spent some time sidelined with injury at the end of 2022.

They were drawn against Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva in the opening round, with the Bulgarian duo fresh off a run to the quarter-finals of the Petronas Malaysia Open a week ago.

And despite a sterling effort and a particularly competitive first game from Birch and Smith, the Stoeva sisters prevailed 21-16 21-10 to set up a second round meeting against fifth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

Meanwhile, Ben Lane and Sean Vendy were up against familiar opponents in the form of Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi – who they faced in Malaysia just a week ago.

The Chinese pair, currently sixth in the world rankings, prevailed in a narrow contest on that occasion, and ultimately claimed victory once again.

Lane and Vendy battled hard in a competitive opening game but Liu and Ou proved too strong in the second game, sealing a 21-19 21-13 win to progress, with fifth seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty their next opponents.

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