The 2021 World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen registered his first win of the season as he took down China’s Weng Hong Yang 24-22, 21-15 in the opening round of the 2024 Indonesia Masters Super 500 on Wednesday.
Sen, who had suffered first-round exits at the Malaysia Open as well as the India Open earlier this month, fought back from 12-19 down in the first game en-route his straight-games win.
The Chinese shuttler, who is ranked two places above Sen in the latest world rankings at the 17th spot, also had three game points at 20-17, but failed to capitalise as the 22-year-old Indian came from behind to pocket the first game 24-22.
Sen carried forward the momentum in the second game as he raced to an 11-7 lead at the mid-game interval. Though Yang threatened to fight back, reducing the deficit to one point at 10-11, the Indian found ways to run away with the match in 51 minutes.
This comes as a much-needed victory for Sen, who has a mountain to climb, in order to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics, before the qualification period ends on April 28.
The win against Yang, also marked the first win in the World Tour circuit since the 2023 World Championships in August for Sen, who has since faced a slew of first round exits.
Kiran George, Priyanshu Rajawat win
Earlier in the day, Kiran George stunned France’s Toma Junior Popov in a come from behind victory. The Indian prevailed 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 against a higher ranked opponent in a contest that lasted 72 minutes at the Istora Senayan.
The win continues a good run of form this week for Kiran, who had defeated Alex Lanier and Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the qualification quarter-final and the qualification Round of 16 respectively.
Both the qualification round matches were hard fought battles for Kiran, who defeated Lanier 12-21, 21-18, 22-20 in 64 minutes before taking down Rhustavito 21-17, 12-21, 21-15 to enter the main draw in Jakarta.
Priyanshu Rajawat made it three Indians in the second round when he beat Rasmus Gemke 21-18, 21-19. The Danish player, no 29 in the world rankings, is just one place above the Indian and the minor difference between the rankings showed in the 45-minute match.
The first game was incredibly close with both players keeping pace with each other, but Rajawat had a 11-8 lead at the interval. Gemke then went on a five-point winning streak after the break to level things at 12-all before taking a slim 13-12 lead for the second time in the match. But the Indian didn’t let that faze him and maintained a slender gap to clinch the first game 21-18.
The second game was even closer with Rajawat having a 11-9 lead heading into the interval. Gemke would once again fight back to bring the scoreline level after the break, but Rajawat’s steadiness saw him progress into the second round after a solid straight-game win.
HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth exit
Meanwhile, the top-ranked Indian shuttler HS Prannoy suffered an early exit as he went down 18-21, 21-19, 10-21 to a lower-ranked Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the opening round.
Prannoy’s early exit comes just days after his semi-final finish at the 2024 India Open Super 750 in front of the home crowd in Delhi last week.
The world No 8 looked to be in good touch as he trailed 8-11 before the change of sides in the decider but fizzled out drastically as Yew ran away with the match, winning the final few points with ease.
It was another first-round exit for Kidambi Srikanth who lost 21-19, 14-21, 11-21 to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, ranked world No 10.
Srikanth had previously lost in the opening round of the India Open last week to Rajawat in Delhi.
The former world No 1 nearly threw away a four-point lead at the interval in the first game when Lee fought back to 19-20, only for Srikanth to hold on and win the first game 21-19.
However, the Malaysian began the second game in a strong fashion, going on a seven-point winning streak to enter the interval with a 11-4 lead. He would continue to maintain that seven-point gap to win the second game 21-14 and level the match at 1-game all.
In the final and deciding game, Srikanth tried to keep pace with Lee in the opening exchanges, but went into the break trailing 7-11. In the end, the prowess of the world No 10 proved too strong for Srikanth who only scored four more points before Lee won 21-11.