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June, 15

Singapore Open 2023: Kidambi Srikanth wins; PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy ousted

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India’s Kidambi Srikanth made a winning start but PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy were ousted from the Singapore Open Super 750 tournament after suffering contrasting losses in the opening round here on Tuesday.

Srikanth, a 2021 world championships silver medallist, beat Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-15 21-19 in the opening round of men’s singles competition. He will face Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hao Lee, who beat Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in his opening match after being promoted to the main draw from the reserves.

Up against world number 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, defending champion Sindhu fought hard before going down 21-18 19-21 17-21 in a little over an hour. The two last faced off in Thailand last year.

Prannoy, who came into the tournament after claiming his maiden BWF title at Malaysia Masters, could not match the young Kodai Naraoka, losing 15-21 19-21 to the third seeded Japanese in 56 minutes.

Doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, however, made a good start after claiming a 21-16 21-15 win over France’s Lucas Corvee and Ronan Labar in their opening match.

Among others, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal lost 13-21 15-21 to former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, while Aakarshi Kashyap went down to another Thai Supanida Katethong 21-17 21-9 in their respective opening match.

Sindhu is slowly getting back to her best after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in August last year. She had a final and semi-final finish at Madrid Spain Masters and Malaysia Masters respectively but this was her second successive first-round exit, following last week’s early loss at Thailand Open.

Coming into the match with a 14-9 head-to-head win ratio against Yamaguchi, Sindhu dished out another fighting show as she overturned a 3-5 deficit to move to a 8-5 lead and kept her nose ahead at the interval.

After resumption, she successfully squashed a mini fightback from the Japanese and sealed the opening game.

However, Yamaguchi established 8-4 lead after the change of sides and then maintained it till 18-14 before prevailing in a battle of supremacy to roar back into contest.

In the decider, Yamaguchi seemed the clear favourite as she kept a firm grip on the rallies to eke out a 11-8 lead at the interval. She kept her rival at a distance to eventually shut the door on the Indian comfortably.





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