Asianet NewsableAsianet Newsable

Japan Open 2022: Kidambi Srikanth registers opening win; Lakshya Sen, Saina Nehwal make early exit

The Japan Open 2022 is happening in Tokyo. In the opening round, Kidambi Srikanth registered a convincing win. However, Lakshya Sen and Saina Nehwal suffered opening round defeats to make early exits.

Japan Open 2022: Kidambi Srikanth registers opening win; Lakshya Sen, Saina Nehwal make early exit-ayh
First Published Aug 31, 2022, 1:17 PM IST

Star Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth recorded a lovely straight-game win over world number 4 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia. However, Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 gold-medalist Lakshya Sen suffered a shocking upset in the opening round of the 2022 Japan Open in Tokyo on Wednesday. Srikanth, a former world number 1, regained his composure from his early exit during the World Championships last week, as he outwitted fifth seed Lee 22-20, 23-21 in his men's singles opening match, lasting 37 minutes. It was his maiden win over the Malaysian in four meetings. However, the 21-year-old Sen, a 2021 World Championships bronze medallist, wasted an opening-game advantage to go down 21-18, 14-21, 13-21 to world number 21 Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in his opening match.

London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal was also no match for top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, losing 9-21, 17-21 in 30 minutes. The renowned men's doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also lost 21-19, 21-23, 15-21 to Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho of Korea after they washed a match point in the second game. The two jumped nine places to reach world number 26 after reaching the quarterfinals at the World Championships last week.

ALSO READ: BWF World Championships 2022 - Satwik-Chirag secures doubles medal for India, Prannoy suffers loss

In other results, Birmingham CWG bronze medallists Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly lost 17-21, 18-21 to seventh seeds of Thailand, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, in the women's doubles category. The mixed doubles pair of Juhi Dewangan and Venkat Gaurav Prasad lost 11-21, 10-21 to top seed Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong of China in 23 minutes.

It was a gritty performance from world number 14 Srikanth, as he struggled for not being able to close out narrow matches, despite putting in the effort to set up the points. On Wednesday, Srikanth again found himself in a familiar situation, wasting a 15-11 edge, allowing Lee to grab three game points. Still, the Indian held his nerves to reel off five points consecutively, leaving his younger rival deserted and sealing the opening game.

ALSO READ: India@75 - Mary Kom to PV Sindu - Indian women who hold top Olympic records

Stung by the opening game setback, Lee showed a lot of purpose after changing sides. He quickly opened up a 2-0 lead and ensured a thin one-point advantage in the break. Lee stepped a gear up to move to 14-11, but things changed as Srikanth turned the tables, grabbing an 18-16 lead and standing just a couple of points away from success at 20-18.

It seemed there would be another twist, as Lee, this time, saved a couple of match points, earning himself a game point. Regardless, Srikanth ensured there were no hiccups, pocketing the vital three points to shut the door on the Malaysian. In the other singles, Lakshya was the better player in the first game, quickly gaining a 7-2 lead and jumping to 15-9 at a stage before stealing the game comfortably.

ALSO READ: CWG 2022 - PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen clinch maiden gold; wishes pour in as India sweeps singles competition

The Indian also made an excellent start to the second, opening up an 8-4 lead. Still, he soon lost control, with Nishimoto dishing out a spectacular fightback to win nine of the following 10 points to roar back into the match. Unexpectedly, the swiftness completely shifted, with Lakshya seeming clueless, as Nishimoto dominated right from the start and kept moving ahead, while the Indian crumbled in the decider.

(With inputs from PTI)

Follow Us:
Download App:
  • android
  • ios