TOKYO: Returning to action after recovering from a back injury, star India shuttler HS Prannoy emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the Japan Masters, advancing to the second round with a gritty win here on Wednesday. The 31-year-old, who played with back pain en route to Asian Games bronze medal in his last outing, outsmarted Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong 22-20 19-21 21-17 in a 64-minute opening round clash at the Super 500 event.
Prannoy made a good start, taking a 11-6 lead at the first mid-game interval. Lee, however, managed to bring claw back at 14-14 but the Indian held his fort despite relentless pressure to eventually seal the opening game by the narrowest of margin.
Prannoy took the momentum to the second game, zooming to 14-8 but the world No. 18 from Hong Kong drew parity at 17-17 and this time went the distance with Prannoy falling into a pool of errors.
The gritty Indian however didn’t let the reversal affect him as he recovered from 5-8 behind to turn the tables at 13-11 and then keep his nose ahead despite a fighting Lee to win the decider and the match.
Lakshya Sen, who had won the Canada Open this year, and Orleans Master winner Priyanshu Rajawat had a bad day in office as they bowed out of the tournament after falling short in their opening match.
Sen, world no. 17, couldn’t go past Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, losing 17-21 10-21 to the world no. 5, while Rajawat lost 15-21 12-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chun-Yi.
The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had lost their opening round match on Tuesday. Agencies