On a day when top singles players P.V Sindhu, H.S Prannoy, Saina Nehwal and Lakshya Sen made their exit from Singapore Open 2023, Orleans Masters champion Priyanshu Rajawat started his campaign with a brilliant win over world No.15 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan here on Tuesday.
Seasoned Kidambi Srikanth, the former World No.1 and World Championship silver medallist, and the men's doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also advanced to the second round in the BWF World Tour Super 750 event.
In women's singles first round, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal went down to seventh-seed Thai shuttler Ratchanok Intanon, the 33-year-old World No.33 losing 13-21, 15-21 in 33 minutes. Compatriot Aakarshi Kashyap lost to Supanda Katethong of Thailand 17-21, 9-21.
Lakshya Sen put up a brilliant fight as he won the first game but lost the next two to Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen in three games, 21-18, 17-21, 13-21 in a match that lasted nine minutes over one hour.
Rajawat, the 21-year-old World No.39, kept the Indian flag fluttering as he defeated Tsuneyama 21-12, 21-15 in straight games to enter Round of 16 on Tuesday playing at Singapore Indoor Stadium - 3. The Indian men's singles shuttler will face Japan's Kodai Naraoka in a pre-quarters encounter on Thursday.
While Rajawat grabbed the spotlight, it was a mixed day in the event for India as ace Indian shuttlers Sindhu and Prannoy crashed out after suffering losses in their respective first-round matches.Coming into the tournament as the defending champion, Sindhu lost 21-18, 19-21, 17-21 to the reigning world champion and No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the women's singles opening round BWF Super 750 event.
This was Sindhu's tenth loss against Yamaguchi but she still leads the head-to-head tally against the Japanese 14-10.On the other hand, Malaysia Masters winner Prannoy failed to break his losing streak against world No. 3 Kodai Naraoka of Japan as he suffered a 21-15, 21-19 loss in the men's singles first round.
This was Prannoy's fourth loss against the Japanese shuttler in as many matches.World No. 23 Srikanth defeated world No. 29 Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand 21-15, 21-19 while the men's doubles pair of Arjun and Dhruv went past the French pair of Lucas Corvee and Ronan Labar 21-16, 21-15 in their first round.
Rajawat, got the better of a higher-ranked player, quelling early resistance by his opponent.Tsuneyama went up 4-1 in the first game before the Indian levelled scores at 4-4 and then opened up a lead of 8-4, winning seven consecutive points. He extended the lead to 11-5 and maintained the advantage over the Japanese opponent to win the game 21-12.
Tsuneyama went up 3-0 in the second game in which he put up a better fight and held the lead till 9-7 before Rajawat got into his rhythm and caught up with the Japanese at 9-9 and then took a 12-9 lead.
Though the Japanese shuttler narrowed the gap to 14-13, Rajawat won the next three points to open a 17-13 advantage and went on to win the game 21-15 to win the match in 38 minutes.World No. 4 men's doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist women's doubles pair Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly will open their campaigns on Wednesday.