India’s MR Arjun and Shlok Ramchandran pulled off a big win in the first round of the Badminton Asia Championships on Wednesday when they beat the world No 26 Korean pair of Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung in straight games.
The 46th-ranked Indian pair won the match 25-23, 23-21 in 45 minutes after saving four game points in the first game. The Indians needed three game points themselves in the second game before closing out the win.
It was a big win for Arjun and Shlok considering Chung and Kim had reached the quarter-finals of the world championships last year and are ranked 20 spots above the Indians. Arjun and Shlok thereby booked their place in round two, where they could meet the top seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen from China.
India’s top singles shuttlers Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth all won their first-round matches as well. While Saina and Sindhu registered straight-game victories, Srikanth had to fight it out in his men’s singles opener against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto.
Saina, who had clinched a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month, continued her good run as she brushed aside Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min 21-12, 21-9. Sindhu, who had lost to Saina in the CWG final, defeated Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po 21-14, 21-19. Saina will meet upcoming Chinese shuttler Gao Fangjie next, while Sindhu will take on Chen Xiaoxin in round two.
Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Srikanth and top seed had to sweat it out before registering a come-from-behind 13-21, 21-16, 21-16 win over Nishimoto. Srikanth will take on Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent next.
World No 10 HS Prannoy and the 19th-ranked B Sai Praneeth were also taken the distance by Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen and Suppanyu Avihingsanon respectively before both Indians won. Prannoy defeated Wangcharoen 21-15, 19-21, 21-19, while Sai Praneeth won 21-13, 11-21, 21-19 in just over an hour. Sameer Verma, however, lost to seventh seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-23, 17-21.
Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram entered the second round after pulling off a thrilling win against Singapore’s Ong Ren-Ne and Wong Jia Ying Crystal 14-21, 22-20, 21-17. However, the mixed doubles pair of Saurabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh lost 17-21, 14-21 to Korean combo of Kim Won Ho and Shin Seung Chan. Another Indian pair of Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan also crashed out after losing 11-21, 13-21 to Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei Reginald and Chau Hoi Wah.
With inputs from PTI