The 83rd Senior National Badminton Championship witnessed controversy on Thursday as three pre-quarterfinal matches were rescheduled after defending champion Saina Nehwal refused to play due to uneven surface of the court at the Assam Badminton Academy courts in Guwahati.
After Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu entered the quarterfinals with a 21-11, 21-13 win over Nagpur's Malvika Bansod, men's top seed Sameer Verma had to concede his encounter against Aryamann Tandon at 21-16 1-8 after suffering a achilles heel problem.
Saina was supposed to clash against Shruti Mundada in the pre-quarters next, but the former world number one decided to review the surface and found it unplayable.
Saina's fears could stem from the fact that the All England Championship is round the corner and she did not want to risk playing on a surface that she was not comfortable with. Sameer's injury could have also hastened Saina's decision.
Helpless, BAI secretary (events) Omar Rashid then had to postpone the three pre-quarterfinal matches, involving Saina, her husband Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth, to the evening session.
Saina, the Olympic bronze medallist, beat Shruti 21-11 21-10 later on, while Parupalli defeated Rahul Yadav C 20-22 21-17 21-17.
Sindhu, later in the day, beat Riya Mookerjee 21-16 21-7 to progress to the semifinals.