World No 19 Lakshya Sen came up with an impressive 21-8, 21-15 win over a familiar foe in second seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn in their first round tie at the Canada Open Super 500 event in Calgary.
In the women’s singles draw, PV Sindhu progressed to the second round with a straight-forward win over Canada’s Talia Ng.
Struggling for form after a bout of illness, Sen trailed through most of the opening game but still kept within touching distance of an opponent he was playing for the ninth time, in a rivalry that started from their junior days. But at 18-18, Sen won the next three points in a row to take the opening game.
The pair started off the second keeping within distance of each other. At 14-14 though, Sen won seven of the next eight points to secure a spot in the second round.
He now reduces their head-to-head deficit to 4-5.
Sen next plays Brazil’s Ygor Coelho, who beat India’s B Sai Praneeth 21-12, 21-17 in their opening round match.
Birthday girl Sindhu
Playing on her 28th birthday, Sindhu took 36 minutes to beat Ng 21-16, 21-9.
Both Sindhu and Ng started off the match by staying relatively close to each other on the scoreline until 13-13. That’s when Sindhu built up a four-point lead which she would hold onto and eventually win the game 21-16.
Winning the opening game may have given the two-time Olympic medallist a shot of confidence, as she started strongly in the second game, taking a 4-0 lead. Ng did manage to reduce the gap to 5-6, but Sindhu started to assert herself thereon.
She won seven points on the trot to build a solid 13-6 lead, winning eight of the next 12 points to secure the match.
Sindhu next plays world No 27 Natsuki Nidaira of Japan. The Indian is in the same half of the draw as top seed Akane Yamaguchi.
The Hyderabad-native now remains the only Indian in the women’s singles draw after Ruthvika Shivani Gadde lost 12-21, 3-21 to Thailand’s Supanida Katethong.
On Tuesday, the men’s doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Zhi Ray and Lu Chen 21-14, 21-16 to make it through to the second round.
In women’s doubles, sisters Rituparna and Swetaparna Panda lost out 21-15, 15-21, 9-21 to Canada’s Jacqueline Cheung and Jeslyn Chow.
Veteran Parupalli Kashyap lost in the second round of the men’s singles qualification event, losing 17-21, 20-22 to China’s Lei Lan Xi.