With none of the Indian female stars participating in the Japan Open, all eyes were on the men's singles competition in Tokyo on Wednesday. Kidambi Srikanth, after going a game down, played some thrilling badminton to defeat fellow countryman Parupalli Kashyap in a three-game encounter to reach the second round.
Besides Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram also emerged victorious in their respective matches. Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth have been dumped out of the competition in the first round itself.
Kashyap had missed Rio Olympics due to injury, but was in complete control of the first game to clinch it 21-14. But Srikanth took his game to the next level as he played some wonderful badminton to win back the second and third game. After a comfortable win in the second, it was an action-packed final game, where both the shuttlers were not giving an inch to the other.
At one point in time, Kashyap had a good lead, but Srikanth was desperate to progress into the second round, and clawed back to win the final game to win 23-21. Srikanth's aggression and skills were too much for Kashyap. The final score read in favour of Srikanth 14-21, 21-14 and 23-21.
Another match featuring India shuttler HS Prannoy and Iskandar Zulkarnain of Malaysia proved to be cracker of a contest. All the three games in the match were tight affair, but the Indian shuttler showed some good skills to emerge victorious. Prannoy thrashed Iskandar 23-21, 19-21 and 21-18.
Ajay Jayaram also played some brilliant badminton to win in his opening match against 2004 Olympic bronze medallist from Indonesia Sony Dwi Kuncoro as he emerged victorious in straight games, 21-19 and 23-21. Both the games were relatively tight, where Jayaram held his nerves to emerge victorious.
Earlier, India did not get off to a great start with Sai Praneeth losing in the first round. The shuttler had started brightly, winning the first game, but his opponent NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong came back from behind to win the last two games, and progress into the next round. He lost the match 9-21, 23-21 and 21-10.