India Open: Rajawat, Prannoy advance; Treesa-Gayatri pair bow out
NEW DELHI — Priyanshu Rajawat came from a game down to upset Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen while Asian Games bronze winner HS Prannoy packed off Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in straight games on the opening day of the BWF India Open, a Super 750 badminton tournament, here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
Rajawat, who was part of the 2022 Thomas Cup winning squad, showcased remarkable resilience to secure a 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 victory over his illustrious compatriot while Prannoy outplayed Chou 21-6, 21-19 to advance to the second round of the Super 750 tournament.
With the second men’s singles berth for the Paris Olympics up for grabs, the clash between Rajawat and Sen was always going to be the highlight of the opening day.
Rajawat will now face eighth seed Prannoy in the second round.
Former champion Sen was the first to get off the blocks as he pocketed the opening game only for Rajawat to step on the accelerator. The 21-year-old, Rajawat, who had lost in the only previous meeting between the two on the BWF circuit at the Japan Open 2023, then showed the maturity to extend the rallies and temper his aggression to win the 75-minute encounter.
Reflecting on his victory, Priyanshu expressed: “Today marked my first good game in quite a while, especially after the break I took due to my back injury. Lakshya is a very good friend of mine but it was important for me to win this match against him and progress to the next round. I stuck to my natural playing style throughout and despite losing the first game, I was determined not to let go of the second and third games at any cost. I am looking forward to the next game against HS Prannoy and want to give my 100 percent to win.”
Earlier, world no. 8 Prannoy, dominated the opening game against Chou and then fought back from a 11-16 deficit in the second game by winning six straight points to take a 17-16 lead before wrapping up the match in 42 minutes.
“The planning was pretty spot on in the first game. I got to understand that he was not able to get the length properly in the first game, so I had to wrap it up really quickly before he got into that rally mode. In the second game, as expected, he started to push the speed and was able to finish a lot of shuttles from behind. I didn’t hit really hard towards the end of the game and was trying to play softer shots,” said Prannoy after the match.
Prannoy also thanked the crowd for supporting him when the chips were down and said he expected the support to go up as the tournament progresses.
Meanwhile, another Indian Kiran George fought valiantly but endured a 12-21, 15-21 loss against Wang Tzu-Wei of Chinese Taipei in his tournament opener.
In women’s doubles, the duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand exited the competition after a tough 21-18, 14-21, and 13-21 defeat against Japan’s Chiharu Shida and Nami Matsuyama.
Earlier in the day, another Indian doubles pair of Rutaparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda went down against Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam of Hong Kong 6-21, 7-21.
The Chinese contingent made their mark on Day One of the BWF Super 750 event with Asian Games 2022 gold medallist Li Shi Feng securing a hard-fought victory in men’s singles and two-time World Championships bronze medallist He Bing Jiao advancing in women’s singles.
While Feng prevailed over 2019 World Championships 2019 bronze medallist Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand with a 19-21, 21-15, 21-15 win, Bing Jiao defeated 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michelle Li of Canada 21-17, 21-15.
Reigning men’s doubles world champions Kang Min-hyuk and Seo Seung Jae of South Korea kicked off their campaign with a convincing 21-18, 21-14 victory over Garmany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel.