Ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy registered an upset victory over Japanese world No 2 Kento Momota to set up a pre-quarterfinals clash against compatriot Lakshya Sen at BWF World Championships 2022 but Kidambi Srikanth was knocked out in the second round, on Wednesday.
Prannoy, who hadn’t beaten the Japanese ace in their previous seven meetings, won the clash 21-17, 21-16 in Momota’s backyard.
“I didn’t really expect it (the win). It’s always been tough to play him in the past as it’s the highest level of badminton. I knew I had to be very disciplined against him and it was really important to pace the game really well; to know which points to push and even which points I could lose,” said Prannoy after his win over two-time world champion Momota.
“His knowledge is still the best but this is a good win for me and I’m pleased to play one more round. I’ve been working a lot on the mental side and being as calm as possible. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but that was nice,” he added.
On the other hand, Lakshya, the reigning Commonwealth Games men’s singles badminton champion and the 2021 worlds bronze-medallist, defeated Spain’s Luis Enrique Penalver 21-17, 21-10 in his round of 32 match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Arena.
The Indian shuttler, a world No 10, made a slow start to his match and found himself trailing 6-4 against an opponent placed 64 places below him. The ninth-seeded Lakshya then stepped on the gas and scored the next nine points on the trot to take control of the first game and eventually saw it off.
Meanwhile, the second game turned out to be a one-sided affair with the Spaniard struggling to account for Sen’s shuttle placement. The Indian badminton player wrapped up the contest in 36 short minutes.
However, the former world No 1 Srikanth, who last year became the first Indian man to play in a world championships final, endured a disappointing ending to his 2022 campaign after an upset 9-21, 17-21 loss to Chinese player Zhao Jun Peng.
Peng, the world No 26, dominated Srikanth in the opening game and then produced a mature display to thwart the Indian’s attempt to draw level in the second.
In the men’s doubles front, India’s top-ranked pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, the Commonwealth Games champions from Birmingham, expectedly cruised past the Guatemalan team of Jonathan Solis and Anibal Marroquin 21-8, 21-10 to make the pre-quarterfinals. Chirag and Satwik had got a bye in the opening round.
The surprise of the day, though, came from the Indian pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who upset the eight-seeded Danish pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, the bronze medallists from last year, by a 21-17, 21-16 scoreline to advance to the round of 16.
In the women’s doubles, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly bowed out after losing 8-21, 17-21 to CWG gold medallists Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia.
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also lost 15-21, 10-21 to China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, the Olympic silver medallists from Tokyo 2020.