Indian shuttler HS Prannoy seems to have put behind the disappointment of an early exit at Asian Games.
The world number 13 opened his Japan Open — BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament campaign with a win over reigning Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia.
Prannoy needed 45 minutes to outclass Christie 21-18, 21-17. The 26-year-old did not have the best of starts as he was trailing Christie for the most part of the first game, which included a 3-0 deficit.
After winning four straight points from 17-18, there was no looking back as Prannoy maintained a healthy lead in the second game, en route to a comfortable win.
The win over in-form Christie must come as a confidence-booster for Prannoy, who has been struggling to reach the final stages of tournaments on the tour as consistently as last year.
Prannoy will now face Christie's Indonesian counterpart and Asian Games bronze medalist Anthony Ginting in the second round.
The Indian national champion had beaten Ginting in their only meeting — at Indonesia Open last year but he needs to be at his best as the young Indonesian is in peak form after having beaten the likes of Kento Momota and Chen Long in Jakarta last month.
Srikanth eases into second round
Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth, who also faced a second-round exit at Asian Games, eased past Huang Yuxiang of China 21-13, 21-15 into the second round.
The world number eight, who has had a disappointing season so far, will face Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the second round of the ongoing tournament.
Sindhu made to work hard, Vaishnavi crashes out
With Saina Nehwal opting out of the tournament, all hope of a podium finish in women's singles will be on PV Sindhu.
The Asian Games silver medalist survived a scare against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the first round. The world number three needed three games — 21-17, 7-21, 21-13 to beat her lower-ranked opponent earlier in the day.
Sindhu will face 19-year-old Gao Fangjie of China in what can prove to be a tricky second-round test.
Notably, Fangjie, ranked 14, made light work of India's Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy (world number 53) 21-10, 21-8 in the first round.