Rising 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 their opening matches on Wednesday.
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 womens singles second round tomorrow.
In the mens singles,Pawar scripted a 21-17 7-21 21-18 victory over World No. 12 Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro,also a 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medallist. The 59-minute battle saw World No. 37 Pawar riding on his clear winners to tackle Kuncoro,who had won the silver and bronze medals at the World Championships in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Thailand Grand Prix Gold winner Srikanth eked out a hard-fought 22-20 22-24 21-18 over World No. 22 Sho Sasaki of Japan. Srikanth now face second seed and World No.2 Chen Long of China.
Among others,Ajay Jayaram prevailed over Chinese Taipeis Tien Chen Chou 21-11 21-18 in another mens singles match but Sourabh Verma and Sai Praneeth B failed to cross the first hurdle. Jun Takemura of Japan defeated Sourabh 22-24 21-19 21-14 while Sai Praneeth fell to eighth seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong 21-23 18-21.
Indias mens 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.
It was an edge-of-the-seat encounter between Srikanth and Sho. They went neck and neck from 3-3 to 20-20 before the Indian grabbed two points to take lead. In the second game,Sho dominated the proceedings early on with a 7-1 lead but Srikanth clawed his way back to make it 11-11 but the Japanese once again surged ahead 18-12. Though Srikanth bounced back at 20-20 and held on till 22-22,Sho played out of his skin and managed to pocket the second game to give himself a chance in the decider.
In the decider,Srikanth raced to a 11-5 lead,and while Sho did reduce the gap,the Indian didnt let it slip.
Earlier,Pawar showed sparks of brilliance as he led 8-5 early on and then kept extending the gap to walk away with the first game. However,Kuncoro came back in the second game to level the tie. The Indian held off his challenge in the decider to make the second round.
World No. 56 H S Prannoy notched up a 15-21 21-17 24-22 victory over Hong Kongs Wing Ki Wong.