Badminton: Kidambi Srikanth, Ajay Jayaram, H S Prannoy progress to second round of Japan Super Series
Ajay Jayaram, H S Prannoy and K Srikanth fought their way to the second round of the Japan Open in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Tokyo: It turned out to be a mixed day for Indian shuttlers at the Japan Super Series with Ajay Jayaram, H S Prannoy and K Srikanth fighting their way to the second round of the men's singles competition in Tokyo on Wednesday.
While Jayaram defeated Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21-19 23-21 in a 46-minute match to avenge his loss at the 2013 Hong Kong Open, Prannoy had to dug deep in his reservoir to eke out a 23-21 19-21 21-18 win over Malaysia's Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.
World No. 13 Srikanth, who reached the quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics, had to toil hard to surpass compatriot P Kashyap, who is making a comeback after recovering from one of the worst injuries of his career.
After an hour and two minutes battle, eight seed Srikanth managed to eke out a come-from-behind 14-21 21-14 23-21 win over Kashyap, who is playing only his second tournament after recovering from the injury.
Jayaram will now face Srikanth, while Prannoy will take on the winner of the match between Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent and Denmark's Viktor Axelsen, seeded second, who won the bronze medal at Rio.
B Sai Praneeth, who had clinched the Canada Open in July, played his heart out before losing 21-9 21-23 10-21 to NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong.
The soft-spoken Indian ace was not known for her aggression till five years back and it was chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who had transformed her into an aggressive player ahead of the Rio Games.
The world number seven Indian will next play Hong Kong's world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi in the group stage.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Viktor Axelsen beats Rio champion Chen Long in straight games to win men's singles badminton gold
Axelsen, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, was aggressive from the start. He took the first game 21-15 and overwhelmed Chen in the second, 21-12.