Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth started their Japan Open campaigns on Wednesday on a good note, winning the first round of their respective categories in the tournament taking place in Tokyo. H S Prannoy and Sameer Verma also advanced to the second round with straight-game wins.
Recently crowned Korea Open champion Sindhu got the better of Minatsu Mitani after being a game down. The Rio and World Championships silver medalist beat the Japanese 12-21, 21-15, 21-17 in the opening round. The Hyderabadi shuttler had also beaten Mitani in three games at the Korea Open quarterfinals.
In the second round, Sindhu will face Japanese Nozomi Okuhara, who she had faced in two finals – Korea Open and World Championships – this month itself. The duo had battled for 83 minutes at Korea Open final last Sunday after fighting for an hour and 50 minutes at the World Championship finals in Glasgow.
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal, who had won bronze at the World Championships, defeated Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-17, 21-9 in 39 minutes in the women’s singles opening round. London Olympics bronze medallist Saina will take on reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the next round.
Indonesia and Australia title holder Srikanth also got the better of China’s Tian Houwei 21-15, 12-21, 21-11 and will now face Hong Kong’s Hu Yun next. The Singapore finalist said in an interview to PTI, “The conditions were good here. It was a tough match and was a close one. I always wanted to stay focused and it worked well for me today.”
While Prannoy got the better off Denmark’s Anders Antonsen 21-12, 21-14, Sameer took 40 minutes to subdue Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab 21-12 21-19 in another match. Prannoy will now take on the winner of the match between Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao and Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus, seeded sixth. Sameer, on the other hand, will square off against either France’s Brice Leverdez or second seed Chinese Shi Yuqi in the next round.