Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Badminton | Prannoy, Satwik-Chirag enter second round of China Masters

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HS Prannoy will face either Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu or Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen next. Photo: X/@PRANNOYHSPRI. File

Star Indian shuttler HS Prannoy progressed to the second round of China Masters Super 750 badminton tournament with a straight game win over Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen here on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, who had missed a couple of tournaments due to a back injury, registered a 21-18 22-20 win over the world number 12 Chen in the opening round, thus avenging the loss that he suffered last week in Japan.

The Asian Games bronze medallist will face either Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu or Denmark’s Magnus Johannesen next.

Top seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who are the reigning Asian Games gold medallists, comfortably prevailed 21-13 21-10 over England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy to also make a good start.

The Commonwealth Games champions will meet Japan’s Akira Koga and Taichi Saito next.

Aakarshi Kashyap, the only Indian challenger in women’s singles, found Zhang Yi Man of China too hot to handle, going down 12-21 14-21 in 33 minutes.

Prannoy, world no. 8, came into the match with a 4-7 head-to-head count but produced a gritty show to come up trumps against Chen.

Lagging 6-9 at one stage, Prannoy turned the tables with four straight points to make it 12-10. Chen came close at 12-14 but the Indian didn’t give much of a chance to his rival to comfortably pocket the opening game.

Chen tried to script a comeback and was 6-3 up early in the second game but a fighting Prannoy kept him on his toes, despite lagging for most part.

The Indian had managed to eke out an 8-6 lead but Chen moved to 12-10 and kept his nose ahead till 18-16 when Prannoy surpassed him to shut the door on his opponent.

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