Srikanth, Prannoy set up round of 16 face-off after winning starts in Japan Open - Hindustan Times
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Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy set up round of 16 face-off after winning starts in Japan Open

Jul 25, 2023 03:40 PM IST

Srikanth got the better of Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen 21-13, 21-13 while Prannoy, stunned All England 2023 champion Li Shi Feng 21-17, 21-13.

Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy will go head-to-head in an all-Indian round of 16 encounter in the men's singles event at the Japan Open 2023 in Tokyo. Srikanth, the former world no.1 shuttler, got the better of Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in straight games 21-13, 21-13 in his round of 32 match while Prannoy, stunned All England 2023 champion, world no. 6 Li Shi Feng of China 21-17, 21-13.

Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy
Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy

Srikanth has not been on top of his game of late. His highest advancement this season has been the quarterfinal appearances at Indonesia, Malaysia and Spain but the worrying factor has been the five first-round exits. However, under new coach Wiempie Mahardi of Indonesia, Srikanth has made a bright start by toppling Chou Tien Chen. The Chinese Taipei's shuttler could hardly challenge Srikanth as the Indian won both games quite comfortably.

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Srikanth, however, will have his task cut out against Prannoy, who won his maiden BWF World Tour title at the Malaysia Masters in May and is currently India's top-ranked player men's singles player.

The 8th seed Prannoy, who lost in the second round at the Korea Open last week bounced back in grad style to trump Li Shi Feng in the opening round. The first game was a close contest which Prannoy won 21-17 after being run deep by Feng but the Indian gave the reigning All England Champion no chance in the second game.

The Prannoy vs Srikanth round of 16 match will take place on Thursday.

Japan Opener 2023: Other Indians in action

In other results, India's Akarshi Kashyap went down to Japan's Yamauchi 17-21, 17-21 in the round of 32 of women's singles.

In women's doubles, the pair of Treesa Jolly and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand engaged in a battle against the Japanese duo of Sayaka Hobara and Suizu. Despite losing the opening game, the Indians prevailed 11-21, 21-15, 21-14 to enter the pre-quarters.

In the mixed doubles category, the Promoted from Reserves (PFR) Indian pair of Rohan Kapoor and Nelakurihi Sikki Reddy failed to make the most of their opportunity, as despite winning the opening game, they were taken out by the Taiwanese duo of Ye Hong-wei and Lee Chia-Hsin 21-18, 9-21, 18-21

Double Olympics medalist PV Sindhu will be in action on Thursday Zhang Yi Man, against whom the Indian won in the Malaysian Open quarterfinals, en route to her semi-final finish in May this year. With the latest win, Sindhu has a 2-2 win-loss record against the 20th-ranked Chinese.

But should Sindhu overcome the first-round hurdle, she is likely to be up against her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying who has beaten the Indian nine times in a row in the recent past in her 19-5 win-loss record.

The tournament also marks the return of ace youngster Lakshya Sen, who took a break and skipped the Korea Open after winning the Canada Open earlier this month.

Upcoming youngster Priyanshu Rajawat and Sen will face each other in an all-Indian opening-round clash.

Should Sen get past Rajawat, he may face a tough test in second-seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in the next round. National champion Mithun Manjunath was promoted to the draw and will be opening against China's Weng Hong Yang.

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