The in-form HS Prannoy progressed to the second round with a fine show but PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth’s inconsistent run continued as they made opening round exits in the Korea Open Super 500 tournament on Wednesday.
Fifth seed Prannoy, the only Indian singles player in the elite top 10, registered a 21-13, 21-17 win over Belgium’s Julien Carraggi. The 31-year-old will face either Lee Yun Gyu or Lee Cheuk Yiu next.
Sindhu, who slipped to world number 17 this week, lost to 32-year-old world no. 22 Pai Yu-Po of Chinese Taipei 18-21, 21-10, 13-21 in the women’s singles opening round. The contest lasted 58 minutes.
Srikanth, on the other hand, squandered a match point advantage in the second game to go down 21-12, 22-24, 17-21 to former world no. 1 Kento Momota from Japan.
It was Srikanth’s 15th loss and 12th successive defeat against the two-time world champion, who has fallen to world number 53 after struggling with form for the last few years.
India’s Priyanshu Rajawat, however, advanced to the second round with a straight-game win over local player Choi Ji Hoon in the men’s singles competition.
The world number 32 Rajawat, the Orleans Masters winner, saw off Choi 21-15, 21-19 in 42 minutes to set up a clash with top seed Kodai Naraoka of Japan.
The mixed pair of N Sikki Reddy and Rohan Kapoor, who had won the Victor Denmark Masters international challenge in June, made it to the second round with a 21-17, 21-17 win over Philippines’ Alvin Morada and Alyssa Ysabel Leonardo.
The Indian duo will face Chinese fourth seeds Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping next.
Kiran George, however, failed to cross the opening round hurdle, going down to Chinese Taipei’s world number 29 Wang Tzu Wei 17-21, 9-21 in another men’s singles match.
Aakarshi Kashyap, Tasnim Mir, Tanya Hemanth, Mithun Manjunath and Ashmita Chaliha -- all were ousted from the tournament in the first round, underlining the huge gulf in quality in the second batch of Indian shuttlers.
While Kashyap lost 12-21, 17-21 to China’s world number 20 Zhang Yi Man, Mir went down 11-21 18-21 to Korea’s world No. 19 Kim Ga Eun and Tanya lost 11-21, 17-21 to world No. 32 Saena Kawakami from Japan.
National champion Mithun was no match for Malaysia’s world number 23 Ng Tze Yong and Ashmita lost to Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei 13-21, 12-21.
B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa too suffered a 21-23, 21-13, 12-21 loss to Korean pair of Song hyun Cho and Lee Jung Hyun in their mixed doubles opening round.
Sindhu came into the match with a 4-1 lead against Pai but she couldn’t curb her errors to go down in the end.
A horrible start, mainly due to Sindhu’s unforced errors, saw her fall behind 2-9 at the start of the opening game.
The Indian either sprayed the shuttle at net or hit long to hand over a huge 11-5 advantage to the Taiwanese, who managed to held on to her lead despite a desperate fightback from Sindhu following an interval.
After the change of sides, it was a different Sindhu as she came out all guns blazing, zooming to 9-1 to eventually roar back into the contest with a commanding show.
The decider turned into a thrilling contest as the duo engaged in some good rallies to move neck and neck till 9-9, after Sindhu blew a 4-1 lead.
A net error meant Pai took a slender two-point lead at the interval. However, things changed thereafter with Sindhu’s game crumbling once again as she kept hitting wide and long, allowing Pai to extend the lead to 18-12.
Sindhu’s smash and lift went out as she ended the match with another net error as Pai recorded only her second win over the Indian in six meetings.
The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.
One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.
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