Highlights

  • Priyanshu Rajawat came from a set behind to beat Lakshya Sen
  • HS Prannoy earlier defeated Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in straight sets.

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Priyanshu Rajawat and HS Prannoy through to the second round of India Open

Talented shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat shocked Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen in an all-Indian clash to join HS Prannoy in the second round of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament.

Priyanshu Rajawat and HS Prannoy through to the second round of India Open

Talented shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat shocked Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen in an all-Indian clash to join HS Prannoy in the second round of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament here on Tuesday.

World Ranked 30th, Rajawat staged a comeback after losing the first game to defeat WR19 Sen 16-21 21-16 21-13 in a 75-minute affair.

It was a second straight first-round exit for Sen that further jeopardises his Olympic qualification chances.

Indian WR9 Prannoy dished out a compact game to outwit WR13 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-6 21-19 in 42 minutes earlier in the day.

Prannoy will take on Rajawat in the second round.

Among other Indians, Kiran George went down 12-21 15-21 to Chinese Taipei's Wang Tzu Wei, while women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand lost narrowly 21-18 14-21 13-21 to WR4 Japanese nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida.

Former World Championship bronze medallist Sen couldn't play his attacking game and lacked the patience to construct the rallies.

Low in confidence, Sen made too many unforced errors, while Rajawat played more freely and his sharp strokes troubled his compatriot.

Sen did well to break off from 10-10 in the opening game to earn the bragging rights but Rajawat returned the favour in the second as he led 11-5 at the interval before shutting it comfortably to take the match to the decider.

In the third game, Rajawat galloped to a 9-1 lead and even though Sen narrowed it down to 9-11, the 21-year-old from Madhya Pradesh moved ahead as Sen crumbled.

"I was prepared that I have to win this match because I had lost last time and I was really sad, so I just wanted to hang in there after losing the first game," Rajawat said.

"I was leading 18-14 in the third game last time so I just wanted to play my 100 per cent and didnt want to take anything lightly, so I was expecting him to make a comeback, so wanted to finish it quickly." Talking about his match, Prannoy said: "The planning was spot on in the first game. I was executing good shots from back of the court. He was not getting the length well, so I had to wrap it up," Prannoy said after the match.

"In the second game, he was pushing the speed and finishing a lot of shuttle from the back but I was happy to fight back from 11-16 and towards the end, I was playing the right game.

"It was important to close it in two games because if it is the third game, then it is always a tough one as he (Chen) pushes with his experience." Prannoy got into a nice rhythm right at the start, mixing his half smashes, drops and tosses from the back court.

Chen struggled to negotiate the length of the shuttle that Prannoy was playing and ended up committing too many errors. Soon, the Indian had an overwhelming 11-2 lead at the break.

He continued to dominate the rallies as Chen surrendered the opening game meekly in the end.

A small crowd had gathered by the time Prannoy took the court and chants of "HSP" and "India" filled the air at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall.

Prannoy, who was silently going about his business till then, started celebrating his points gusto in the second game which had begun on an even note.

However, he found himself 11-16 down when Chen stepped up and started playing some good cross-court shots from the back.

Just when it seemed the match will go into the decider, Prannoy fought back to be at 16-16 with a precise net return.

The Indian played more soft shots and drew Chen to the nets, extracting errors from his opponent to eventually nose ahead.


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