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Japan Open: Sindhu, Pawar, Ajay reach second round

Agencies
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Indian shuttler P. V. Sindhu entered the second round without much ado but it was Anand Pawar and K. Srikanth who created a flutter at the Japan Open as they notched up stunning victories over their higher-ranked opponents in the men’s singles competition here.

Sindhu, seeded eighth, brushed aside local shuttler Yukino Nakai 21-12, 21-13 in less than half an hour to set up a clash with another Japanese qualifier Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles second round on Thursday.

However, it was Pawar who first hogged the limelight when he scripted a 21-17, 7-21, 21-18 victory over World No.12 Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro.

The 59-minute battle saw World No. 37 Pawar riding on his clear winners to tackle Kuncoro. Thailand Grand Prix winner Srikanth, continued his giant-killing act at the Japan Open when he eked out a hard-fought 22-20, 22-24, 21-18 over World No. 22 Sho Sasaki of Japan in a hour and eight minutes match.

Saurabh, Praneeth lose

Among others, Ajay Jayaram prevailed over Chinese Taipei’s Tien Chen Chou 21-11, 21-18 in another men’s singles match but Sourabh Verma and Sai Praneeth B failed to cross the first hurdle.

While Jun Takemura of Japan spoilt Sourabh’s campaign with a difficult 22-24, 21-19, 21-14 win, Sai Praneeth’s fight against eighth seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong ended with a disappointing 21-23, 18-21 loss for the Indian.

It was also the end of road for Tanvi Lad as she went down 15-21, 10-21 to Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the opening match. India’s men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B. entered the second round with a 21-17, 21-15 win over local combo of Hiroyuki Saeki and Ryota Taohata in the opening round match.

Li Xuerui pulls out

World No.1 Li Xuerui pulled out of the Japan Open on Wednesday because of a sore knee, with her teammate linking the problem to a jam-packed schedule for Chinese players.

The 22-year-old London Olympic champion suffered pain in her left knee and consulted the venue doctor before the Japan Open’s first day, a tournament press official said.

The doctor, Takemasa Miyauchi, confirmed Li’s knee trouble and the top-seeded Chinese player withdrew from the first-round match against Japan’s Aya Ohori, the official said.

Li’s male teammate Wang Zhengming said: “Members of the Chinese team, including myself, have a tight schedule filled with matches. I think she (Li) probably had an old injury that was hurting again somewhat because of fatigue.”

The packed playing schedule has been a universal concern for badminton stars, with the men’s World No.1, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, being advised to reduce his tournament appearances in order to continue his career toward the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“I have been playing in so many tournaments,” the 30-year-old said on Tuesday. “But I have adjusted the number of tournaments I play,” adding that he skipped the China Masters to focus on the Japan Open.Agencies


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