Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

India Open: Lakshya beats Prannoy; Chirag-Satwik pair advances

New Delhi : India’s top-ranked shuttler H.S. Prannoy suffered a first-round exit from the India Open Super750 badminton tournament after a straight-game loss at the hands of his compatriot and defending champion Lakshya Sen here on Tuesday.

Lakshya prevailed 21-14, 21-15 over Prannoy in a match that lasted for 45 minutes. This was the pair’s seventh meeting in BWF tournaments and Lakshya took the lead 4-3 in the head-to-head record.

Defending men’s doubles champion pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy began their title defence with an easy 21-13, 21-15 opening-round win over Scotland’s Christopher Grimley and Mathew Grimley in just 41 minutes.

The India duo will next face either the Chinese combination Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi, whom they beat in a thrilling comeback last week, or the English pair of Ben Lane/Sean Vendy, whom they trounced in the 2022 Commonwealth Games final last year.

In the women’s doubles, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also made a winning start to the campaign as the duo defeated Margot Lambert and Anne Tran 22-20, 17-21, 21-18.

In the second round, the promising India women’s duo will face a stiff challenge in the form of sixth-seed Chinese pair Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu.

Earlier, Former World No. 1 Kento Momota had a difficult start to the year as he lost to Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke 21-15 21-11. He had missed the season opener, Malaysia Open, due to a bout of influenza.

Momota’s loss to Gemke made this his seventh first-round loss in 10 tournaments. He did show some glimpses of his golden touch, eliciting applause from the sparse crowd, but overall he struggled with all aspects of his game. Gemke regularly found the winners past the despairing Momota.

“I found it difficult to control the shuttle,” said Momota. “I’ve recovered from influenza; physically I felt all right. I just need to work harder for the rest of the year.”

In the women’s singles, Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin, who had an injury setback last year, outplayed Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-13, 21-18.

Marin will be up against the most successful player at the India Open with three titles, Ratchanok Intanon, who trounced her Malaysian counterpart Goh Jin Wei 21-13, in the Round of 16.

The Bulgarian duo of Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva too registered an easy 21-16, 21-10 win over their English opponents Cloe Birch and Lauren Smith in the women’s doubles opening round match.

The Stoeva sisters await the winner of the match between Jongkolphan Kititharakul & Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand and Debora Jilli and Cheryl Seinen of France, in the second round.

In another women’s doubles match, India’s N. Sikki Reddy and Shruti Mishra lost to Germany’s Linda Efler and Isabel Lohau.

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