Kidambi Srikanth wins, Lakshya Sen and Saina Nehwal crash in round one

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Indian star commuter Kidambi Srikanth recorded a stunning straight win over world number 4 Lee Zii Jia but Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen suffered a shock defeat in the first round of the Japan Open Super 750 tournament on Wednesday.

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Srikanth, a former world number 1, recovered from his early exit from the World Championships last week, to beat fifth seed Lee 22-20 23-21 in his first match of the men’s singles which lasted 37 minutes. It was his first win against the Malaysian in four games.

Sen, 21, a bronze medalist at the 2021 world championships, however squandered an advantage in the opener to lose 21-18 14-21 13-21 to Japanese world number 21 Kenta Nishimoto in his first match.

The rising men’s duo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who jumped nine places to world number 26 after a quarter-final at the World Championships, also lost 21-19 21-23 15-21 to the Korean combination of Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho after losing a match point in the second match.

London Olympics bronze medalist Saina Nehwal was also no match for top seed Akane Yamaguchi as she lost 9-21 17-21 to home favorite in 30 minutes.

The rising men’s duo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who jumped nine places to world number 26 after a quarter-final at the World Championships, also lost 21-19 21-23 15-21 to the Korean combination of Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho after losing a match point in the second game.

In other results, Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly lost 17-21 18-21 to seventh seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand in women’s doubles.

Mixed doubles pair Juhi Dewangan and Venkat Gaurav Prasad lost 11-21 10-21 to Chinese top seeds Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong in 23 minutes.

It was a gritty performance from world number 14 Srikanth, who is often guilty of not being able to close close matches, despite all the hard work to prepare for the points.

On Wednesday, Srikanth found himself in a similar position again when he nearly lost a 15-11 advantage by allowing Lee to grab three game points, but the Indian held his nerve to rack up five points on the trot to leave his young rival. failed and seal the opening game.

Stung by the knockdown in the opener, Lee showed a lot of determination after the switch. He opened a 2-0 lead early on and secured a slim one-point lead in the interval.

Lee kicked into high gear to make it 14-11, but things quickly changed when Srikanth turned the tables to take an 18-16 lead and then stood just two points short of a 20-man win. -18.

It looked like there would be another twist to the story as Lee this time saved two match points and earned himself a match point, but Srikanth made sure there was no setback. pocketing the three points required to close the door on the Malaysian.

In other singles, Lakshya was by far the better performer in the opener as he quickly took a 7-2 lead and made it 15-9 at one point, before comfortably pocketing the match.

The Indian also got off to a good start for the second, opening an 8-4 lead, but quickly lost control as Nishimoto delivered a sensational fightback to claim 9 of the next 10 points to return to the competition.

Suddenly the momentum changed completely as Lakshya looked distraught even as Nishimoto dominated from the start to keep pushing forward as the Indian crumbled into the decider.

On Tuesday, HS Prannoy advanced to the second round after Hong Kong opponent Ng ka Long Angus pulled out midway through the opening match.

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