Only two out of six Indians in the fray in the men’s singles draw of the Australian Open Superseries progressed to the second round of the tournament after winning their opening matches. Indonesia Open champion Kidambi Srikanth and Thailand Open champion B Sai Praneeth recorded wins on Tuesday, while HS Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram and Siril Verma were all knocked out.
Fresh from his Indonesia Open win, Srikanth needed just 27 minutes to get rid of Kan Chao Yu, a qualifier from Chinese Taipei, in straight games – 21-13, 21-16. Srikanth’s next match, however, is not likely to be such a cakewalk. He will take on top seed Son, who beat Kashyap, in the second round.
World No 14 Sai Praneeth was stretched to three games by the 26th-ranked Tommy Sugiarto from Indonesia. The Indian lost the first game badly 10-21, before fighting back to take the next two with relative ease – 21-12 and 21-10. Praneeth will take on China’s Huang Yuxiang in the second round.
Kashyap put up a good fight against world No 1 Son Wan Ho of Korea and stretched him to three games after losing the first. However, the Korean won the decider and knocked Kashyap out 21-18, 14-21, 21-15 in a match that lasted one hour and five minutes.
Prannoy didn’t have an easy match-up against European silver medalist Rajiv Ouseph, ranked 30th in the world. The two went neck and neck in the first game, which Ouseph eventually edged 21-19. Unfortunately for India, Prannoy could not put up much of a fight in the second game, which he lost 13-21.
Ajay flattered to deceive when he won the first game against seventh seed NG Ka Long Angus, but then surrendered in the next two to lose 21-14, 10-21, 9-21. Verma lost in straight games – 16-21, 8-21 – to world No 29 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark.
India didn’t have much to cheer about in the doubles side as well, as Francis Alwin and Kona Tarun (men’s doubles), Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy (men’s doubles), and Ashwini Ponappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (mixed doubles) all lost their opening matches in straight games.