Tokyo: Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy showcased their brilliance at the Japan Open 2023 badminton tournament, advancing to the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s singles event at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth, currently ranked 20th, delivered a stunning performance, defeating world No. 8 Chou Tien-Chen from Chinese Taipei with a commanding score of 21-13, 21-13, in just 43 minutes. This marked his second victory over the higher-ranked shuttler in their eight meetings.
Not to be outdone, eighth seed HS Prannoy, ranked 10th in the badminton standings, displayed remarkable prowess on the court as he secured a well-deserved win against world No. 7 and reigning All England champion Li Shi Feng of the Republic of China. Prannoy sealed the victory in 49 minutes, clinching his third consecutive win against the formidable Chinese player.
The standout performances by Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy have set the stage for an exciting clash in the pre-quarterfinals of the BWF Super 750 tournament on Wednesday, where they will face each other, promising a thrilling contest between the Indian stars.
In the women’s doubles, Aakarshi Kashyap, ranked 42nd in the world, fought valiantly but succumbed to a tough challenge from Japan’s top-ranked shuttler, Akane Yamaguchi, who secured a 21-17, 21-17 victory in 34 minutes.
On the other hand, in the women’s singles, India witnessed a stunning comeback by Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand as they triumphed over the Japanese duo of Sayaka Hobara and Yui Suizu. Jolly and Gopichand displayed immense grit and skill, winning 11-21, 21-15, and 21-14 in just over an hour to advance to the pre-quarterfinals.
However, not all Indian pairs were fortunate in the mixed doubles. Rohan Kapoor and N. Sikki Reddy faced a formidable challenge from Chinese Taipei’s Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin, ultimately conceding defeat with scores of 18-21, 21-9, and 21-18 in a hard-fought match that lasted 53 minutes.
The Japan Open holds significant importance for players, as the results will contribute towards their qualifying rankings for the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympics. The qualification window for badminton officially commenced on May 1, 2023.
Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, who is currently ranked 17th, is set to take the court on Wednesday, facing off against world No. 18 Zhang Yiman from China in her opening match in Japan Open 2023.