Former world No 1 Kidambi Srikanth scored a comfortable 21-13, 21-13 win over Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the opening round of the men’s singles event at the Japan Open Super 750, in Tokyo on Tuesday.
HS Prannoy came up with a 21-17, 21-13 win over reigning All England Open champion Li Shi Feng to set up a second round clash against Srikanth.
In women’s doubles, Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly came from behind to beat Japan’s Sayaka Hobara and Yui Suizu 11-21, 21-15, 21-14.
This was the eight meeting between the pair, with Srikanth trailing 1-6 in the head-to-head count. The 30-year old player’s only win prior to Tuesday came nine years ago, when he won their first ever meeting 18-21, 22-20, 21-16 at the Hong Kong Open in 2014.
In Tokyo though, at no point in the match did Srikanth trail the current world No 8.
He started the match by racing to a 5-0 lead. Though Chou managed to come back to 10-8, the Indian did not slip-up.
At 17-13, Srikanth won the next four points to win the first game. He used that momentum to get to an early 5-1 lead in the second game.
Chou did manage to reduce the deficit to 6-4, but Srikanth again ceased control and started to dictate rallies.
Eventually at 16-13, Srikanth won the next five points on the trot to seal the second game and the match.
Prannoy carried a 2-0 head-to-head record over Li entering the match. The opening game remained tight, with neither shuttler able to get a big lead.
At 12-11 in favour of Prannoy, the Indian won four points in a row to make some space, only for him to lose the next four points. He eventually went on to win the tightly-contest first game 21-17.
The second game was largely one-way traffic. Prannoy raced to a 7-0 lead and then held firm to secure the match after 49 minutes.
The 20-year-old duo of Gayatri and Jolly struggled to find any momentum in the opening game of their women’s doubles match.
In the second game though, they started by winning five points on the trot and held onto the lead to take the match into the decider.
Both teams were level at 7-7 in the second game. But the Indians then won the next seven points on the trot to take a strong position in the match before securing the tie.
Earlier in the day, Aakarshi Kashyap lost 17-21, 17-21 to top seed Akane Yamaguchi on Court 1.
In mixed doubles, Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy lost 21-18, 9-21, 18-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Ye Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin.