Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu and in-form shuttler Lakshya Sen made impressive starts at the Indonesia Masters Super 750 badminton tournament, reaching the second round with contrasting wins here on Tuesday. Reigning world champion Sindhu, seeded third, recorded a 21-15 21-19 win over Thailand’s Supanida Katethong in a 43-minute women’s singles match to set up a second-round clash with Spain’s Clara Azurmendi. However, the highlight of the day was Lakshya’s stunning win over world no 10 Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama in the men’s singles.
The 20-year-old from Almora, who had reached the semifinals at Hylo Open Super 500 and final of Dutch Open, displayed tremendous grit on way to a shocking 21-17 18-21 21-17 win over Kanta in an hour and 8 minutes. Lakshya will now face top seed and two-time world champion Kento Momota of Japan in the next round.
Sindhu didn’t have much trouble in outwitting Supanida in the opening game as she ran up a lead of 11-5 and kept her opponent at a distance even after the break. Supanida was more competitive in the second game as she kept snapping at Sindhu’s heels.
The Indian opened up an 11-8 lead at the break but the Thai player kept lurking around. At 19-18, Sindhu grabbed two match points. Supanida saved one before Sindhu sealed the affair.
In men’s singles, Lakshya, ranked 19th, continued his rich vein of form to shock his higher-ranked opponent. Lakshya rallied his way from 6-9 down in the opening game to first grab a 13-11 lead and then reeled off four straight points from 14-13 to leave Kanta behind and gain an upper hand.
In the second game, Lakshya was up 4-0 but Kanta clawed his way back at 10-8. The Indian ensured that he had his nose ahead at the interval but his one-point advantage was blown away by the Japanese, who broke off from 14-14 to roar back into the contest.
In the decider, Lakshya showed great mental fortitude as he fought back from 3-6 to jump to 13-8 with a six-point burst. Kanta made it 16-16 but Lakshya ensured he had the last laugh as he won five of the next six points to enter the second round.
Among others, sixth seeded Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be up against Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi later in the day.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will also be in action against Denmark’s Alexandra Boje and Mette Poulsen.
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