The highest-ranked Indian men’s singles shuttler HS Prannoy defeated compatriot Kidambi Srikanth to enter the quarterfinals of the Japan Open Super 750 in Tokyo on Thursday.
The 31-year-old bounced back from being a game down to win 19-21, 21-9, 21-9 at the Yoyogi Gymnasium.
Prannoy started off well in the match, taking an early 4-2 lead in the first game.
Srikanth, though, fought back to keep the game under his control with some beautiful shots all around the court. With the scores level at 18-18, the former world no. 1 with a skillful net play and a bit of luck on his side raced to a 20-18 lead.
While Prannoy did manage to pull back a point from there, a wide shot proved to be his peril as Srikanth took the first game 21-19.
Just when it seemed as if Srikanth would yet again register a convincing victory over Prannoy, as he so often has, the world no. 8 hit back.
Srikanth couldn’t build on his momentum, as has been the case in recent times, after playing an impeccable first game. Multiple errors followed from his side as Prannoy tightened the screws. He trailed 4-11 at the mid-game interval, before surrendering the second game 9-21.
Prannoy, who had grown in confidence with his passage of play, left no room for error in the decider and completely outplayed his opponent with the score reading 19-21, 21-9, 21-9.
This was also Prannoy’s first win over Srikanth in a BWF tournament since his win in the Round of 32 of the 2019 Japan Open.
Lakshya, Satwik-Chirag advance
Amongst the other Indians in action, Lakshya Sen and the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty too won their respective matches.
While Sen took down Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama 21-14, 21-16 much to the dismay of home fans, Rankireddy and Shetty registered an easy 21-17, 21-11 victory over Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede.
On the other hand, the women’s doubles pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly went down 21-23, 19-21 in straight games against home favourites Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida.