Second seed HS Prannoy was the biggest casualty of the opening day of the Syed Modi International Badminton tournament in Lucknow which saw the likes of Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap ease into the second round.
The world number 23 clearly struggled to find his rhythm against Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, who was promoted to the main draw due to withdrawals, and lost 21-14, 21-7 in just 33 minutes to become only the second seed to be knocked out in the opening round of the Super 300 tournament.
In both the games, Prannoy started with a few attacking strokes and kept pace with his opponent during the initial exchanges but his game simply disintegrated in the second game as he conceded 10 straight points to fall behind 12-3 and never looked like he had the energy of the hunger to fight back.
Seventh seed Sourabh Verma was the other seed to be knocked out when he went down Zhou Zeqi 17-21, 21-15, 21-15.
It was a battle of attrition as both the players were willing to play long rallies and wait for the opponent to make mistakes. Verma was patient initially despite the rub of the green not going his way in the initial exchanges as he fought back from 14-9 to first draw level and then win the opening game with four straight points.
But the Chinese changed the tempo of the match from the second game, moving faster and going for the kill down the line on Verma’s backhand to maintain the upper hand through out the next two games.
In the other matches, P Kashyap shows glimpses of his old self to completely dominate Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand during the 21-14, 21-12 win. The 32-year-old used the flat game rather well to negate the deception of the left-handed Thai and the clinched points with his trademark cross court smashes and drives.
The former champion will now face Indonesia’s Firman Abdul Kholik for a spot in the quarters. Kholik hammered Siddharth Thakur, who was promoted to the main draw thanks to the withdrawal of top seed K Srikanth, 21-13, 21-8.
Earlier, Saina Nehwal eased into the second round with a 21-10, 21-10 win over Mauritius’ Kate Foo Kune and will now face qualifier Amolika Singh Sisodiya, who defeated Anura Prabhudesai 21-18, 12-21, 21-18.
In the pairs event, top seeds Pranaav Chopra and N Sikki Reddy went down 21-14, 21-11 in the mixed doubles first round against China’s Xiangyu Ren and Chaomin Zhou in just 31 minutes.
Former Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth also crossed the men’s singles opening hurdle, beating Russia’s Sergey Sirant 21-12, 21-10. He will square off against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia.
Subhankar Dey, meanwhile, beat Sweden’s Felix Burestedt 21-15, 21-13 to set up a clash with Lu Guangzu of China. Former national champion Rituparna Das, seeded eighth, saw off Russia’s Natalia Perminvova 21-19, 18-21, 21-10, and will face compatriot Shruti Mundada in the women’s singles.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, seeded sixth, also notched up a 21-10, 21-10 win over compatriots Krishna Prasad Garaga and Rutaparna Panda in the mixed doubles opening round.
Among others, Prashi Joshi, Saili Rane, Riya Mookerjee, Pardeshi Shreyanshi, Reshma Karthik and Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka also made it to the women’s singles second round.