India’s Mithun Manjunath, on Wednesday, scored a shock 21-19, 21-19 straight-games win over former world champion Loh Kean Yew in the men’s singles opening round at the ongoing 2023 Australia Open Super 500 in Sydney on Wednesday.
The Indian, ranked 50th in the world, trailed 8-11 at the first mid-game break. He then stitched together four consecutive points to take a 12-11 lead post the interval.
Though the world No 7 hit back to equalise at 18-18 before taking a 19-18 lead, Manjunath bounced back to win three points in a row and wrapped up the first game 21-19.
The 25-year-old from Karnataka carried forward this momentum to the second game as well, racing to an 11-6 lead. He further extended his lead to nine points at 18-9, completely outplaying the Singapore shuttler.
Loh Kean Yew, however, fought back with an array of points with the Indian seemingly cracking under pressure, but a wide shot at a crucial juncture brought a halt to his run as Manjunath took home the second game 21-19 to record a famous win.
Earlier on Wednesday, Aakarshi Kashyap registered her first win since March to advance to the women’s singles Round of 16 at the 2023 Australian Open Super 500 in Sydney.
The 21-year-old defeated Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei 21-15, 21-17 in straight games.
Kashyap, who has been struggling for form, last won a match in a BWF Tour during at the Madrid Masters Super 300.
After the first round win in Sydney, Kashyap is now expected to play PV Sindhu in the Round of 16.
Sindhu beat compatriot Ashmita Chaliha 18-21, 13-21 to open her campaign in Australia after two first round exits in her previous two tournaments.
In the men’s singles section, both Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy won their respective contests to move into the pre-quarter-finals.
While Srikanth beat Kenta Nishimoto 21-18, 21-7, Prannoy had to work hard but eventually prevailed 21-18, 16-21, 21-15 against Lee Cheuk Yiu.
The young Priyanshu Rajawat also registered a clinical 21-12, 21-16 win over Australia’s Nathan Tang to get his campaign underway.
Meanwhile, the 2021 world championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen retired mid-way into his match against Kiran George.