PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy came through with straight-game wins on the opening day of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 event on Tuesday in Jakarta. In the men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made it through.

Sindhu and Prannoy, India’s top-ranked singles shuttlers, made it to the round of 16 with relative ease against tricky opponents.

The Indian former world champion produced a solid performance against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, a player she has had issues dealing with this year, for a confidence-boosting 21-19, 21-15 win. Prannoy reached the second round with a straight-games win against world No 11 Kenta Nishimoto 21-16, 21-14.

Sindhu passes Tunjung test

Tunjung had defeated Sindhu twice in their two meetings this year and both in straight games. But at her home event, the rising star (now the world No 9) struggled to control the shuttle from both ends consistently. The opening game was, in fact, a case of Tunjung losing more than Sindhu winning.

To her credit, Sindhu remained solid for the most part, even though the drop shots continued to trouble her. The Indian, who has slipped to world No 13 now, attacked much better in the second game and used her steep smashes to good effect to improve the record to 8-2 against the Indonesian.

Sindhu will next face former world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the second round. The 2019 World Champion hasn’t beaten Tai since, incidentally, the 2019 World Championships and trails 5-18 on the H2H, having lost 8 straight matches.

In the men’s singles, Prannoy faced world No 11 Kenta Nishimoto for the second time in quick succession. The last time they met, it was a 91-minute marathon that the Indian had prevailed in. The opening game seemed to indicate another such battle as the shuttlers were evenly matched for most part. But Prannoy pulled ahead to close the opening game and did the same to start the second game, and that was the decisive part.

The Malaysia Masters winner next faces Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong China, against whom the head-to-head dates back as far as 2015. In their past 10 matches, the two players are level 5-5.

Earlier in women’s doubles, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand went down in three games against in-form Japan’s Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi 20-22, 21-12, 21-16. Incidentally, the match also witnessed the return of chief national coach Pullela Gopichand to the coaching chair as he accompanied doubles coach Mathias Boe.

There was also a third-game heartbreak for MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila who took the lead against eighth seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi but lost 21-12, 6-21, 20-22.

Later in the day, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had it rather easy. The world No 5 duo entered the second round after Christo Popov pulled out midway through the second game. He had injured himself earlier in the day in his singles match.

It hasn’t been the best of starts to the Olympic qualification cycle for the Asian champions, but the Commonwealth Games champions will be looking to go deep in Jakarta. The Indians were supposed to face their rivals Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in the opening round. But the former World No 1s pulled out of the tournament and that meant they faced the French duo. The result was a foregone conclusion almost as Christo had lost the deciding game in this singles match 1-21 against Chou Tien Chen.

The seventh-seeded Indian pair will face China’s He Ji Ting / Zhou Hao Dong, the world No 14. Chirag and Satwik have won their solitary meeting, back in 2021.

On Wednesday, opening round action for the Indian contingent will continue where Srikanth Kidambi faces a tough test against Lu Guang Zu of China, the world No 13. But the Indian has won all four meetings against Lu in the past.

Arguably one of the most anticipated ties of the first round is Lakshya Sen vs Lee Zii Jia, a rematch of last year’s All England semi-final. The CWG 2022 champion has showed glimpses of getting back to his best, reaching the semi-final at the Thailand Open couple of weeks back. And he has a 2-1 favourable H2H against Lee, eighth seed from Malaysia. Lee has had a rollercoaster season himself and has slipped to 10th in the world while Sen is back in the world’s top 20 now.

Priyanshu Rajawat is a late confirmation for the main draw, with the withdrawal of a couple of singles players from the field. He takes on Kulavut Vitidsarn in the opening round.

Aakarshi Kashyap faces arguably the toughest test in badminton right now, when she takes on the red-hot Korean superstar An Se Young.

More details on how matches unfolded in the Twitter thread here.