US Open winner HS Prannoy and runner-up P Kashyap both won their first-round fixtures at the New Zealand Open Grand Prix Gold tournament on Tuesday. However, there was a major upset in the first round as second seed Ajay Jayaram was sent crashing out by world No 122 Chia Hung Lu of Chinese Taipei in straight games.
Prannoy and Kashyap both hardly broke a sweat as they dispatched their opponents in straight games. Prannoy beat world No 104 Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia 21-14, 21-16 in 36 minutes.
The Indonesian could hardly keep up with the 17th-ranked Indian in the first game, but put up a bit of a fight in the second, taking the score to 7-7. However, Prannoy upped a gear and went ahead, maintaining his lead till the end. He will face world No 121 Firman Abdul Kholik of Indonesia in round two.
Kashyap had an even easier outing against world No 301 Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia, taking the match 21-5, 21-10 in just 22 minutes. His second-round match is expected to follow a similar path, where he will come up against local boy and world No 701 Oscar Guo. Three other Indians – Siril Verma, Pratul Joshi, and Neeraj Vashisht – also made it through to the second round.
Ajay and Chia went neck-and-neck until the intervals of both games, before the Chinese Taipei player went ahead and won them. Chia took the match 21-19, 21-13 in just over half an hour.
World No 187 Arun Kumar Ashok Kumar was the only other Indian who also lost his first-round clash. He was beaten by world No 287 Saputra Vicky Angga of Indonesia 16-21, 12-21. The Indonesian will take on Verma in round two.
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