HS Prannoy, badminton, Indonesia Open, Kazumasa Sakai, semifinals
File photo of HS Prannoy.Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images

Reigning national champion HS Prannoy came up with an impressive performance in the first round of Indonesia Open 2018 on Tuesday, July 3, beating two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in three games.

Prannoy, who had not played competitive badminton at the international level since his defeat to Chen Long in Thomas Cup finals in May, was forced to skip last week's Malaysia Open due to "a tough injury phase".

Returning to the tour at the ongoing World Tour Super 1000 tournament in Indonesia, Prannoy needed 59 minutes to stun the world number eight 21-15, 9-21 and 21-14.

Although the Chinese great wasn't at his best, he was able to make light work of Prannoy in the second game to force a decider.

Showing very little signs of rustiness after a month-long injury layoff, the world number 13 from India was able to remain calm and comfortably outclass the veteran in the third and final game.

Prannoy joins an elite list of few who have a positive head-to-head record against the Super Dan as he has beaten the China great twice in three meetings.

His love affair with the tournament in Jakarta seems to continue as he had reached the semi-final of the then Superseries Premier tournament in 2017, beating Lee Chong Wei and Chen, en route. 

The eighth seed may face compatriot Sai Praneeth in the pre-quarter-final. The former Singapore Open winner takes on Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei in a first-round tie later today.

With both Lin Dan and Chen Long being ousted as early as in the first round, Prannoy has a good opportunity to reach the semi-final of the prestigious tournament. He may face third seed Shi Yuqi of China in the quarter-final.

Sameer Verma survives a scare

Meanwhile, unseeded Sameer Verma was taken to the distance by lower-ranked Rasmus Gemke of Denmark earlier today. Having clinched a 21-9, 12-1, 22-20 win, the world number 18 may face numero uno Viktor Axelsen in the second round.

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal, who faced an early exit in Malaysia, will also be in action today as she faces local favourite Dinar Ayustine in the first round.

Defending champion Kidambi Srikanth faces a stiff test in the opening round against in-form Kento Momota of Japan while PV Sindhu takes on Pornpawee Chochuwong in her tournament opener. Both matches will be played on Wednesday, July 4.