World champion P. V. Sindhu suffered a shock defeat on her return to international badminton, losing in three games to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the opening round of Thailand Open Super 1000 event here on Tuesday.
Months after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the international calendar, Sindhu, seeded sixth, returned to action with a 21-16, 24-26, 13-21 defeat to World No. 18 Blichfeldt in a 74-minute battle. The loss ended India’s campaign in women’s singles as the other contender Saina Nehwal was forced out after testing positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the tournament.
In men’s singles, World No. 13 B Sai Praneeth suffered a straight-game loss in the contest against Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen on his return to competition.
Frontrunner to represent India at the Olympics, Praneeth went down 16-21, 10-21 to the World No. 15 Wangcharoen for only his second loss to the…