The first day of the Japan Open did not start on a bright note for India with PV SIndhu along with the doubles competitors being ousted from the competition. But other shuttlers such as Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap emerged victorious in the first round and will be in action during their respective clashes on Thursday.
Saina, who has been carrying India's flag on her shoulders for some years now, is the brightest hope for the nation and will face Japan's Minatsu Mitani in the second round. The second seed has an upper hand against the Japanese, who has lost five times and only won twice.
Saina will head into the match as favourite, but she cannot afford to take Mitani lightly after the Japanese played a brilliant game to dump Sindhu out of the competition in the first round. Hence, Mitani will not be short of confidence.
With Mitani's victory over SIndhu, all hopes of Saina vs Sindhu contest diminished. However, the men's singles will witness two Indian shuttlers – Parupalli Kashyap and KIdambi Srikanth -- go head to head against one another in the second round.
Srikanth, who is the third seed in the competition, defeated Scot Evans in an easy manner with the score reading 21-18, 21-15, while Kashyap's first round opponent, Takuma Ueda retired to give the Indian a walkover.
These two shuttlers have only met once in the international circuit and surprisingly, it is Kashyap, who has a 1-0 record. An interesting match looms large with Kashyap possessing an aggressive game, and Srikanth with his strong defense will be eager to reach the quarter finals of the competition after his below par performance in the world championships.
In another singles contest, Prannoy will take on qualifier Lee Dong Keun for a spot in the round of 8.
Where to follow live
Saina Nehwal vs Minatsu Mitani match has been scheduled for 1:30pm local time (10am IST), while Parupalli Kashyap vs KIdambi Srikanth will start at 3:10pm local time (11:40am IST).
The BWF official website provides the live updates.