Japan Open: Srikanth beats legend, Lakshya-Saina out in first round

The pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who reached number 26 in the world rankings after making the quarter-finals of the World Championships, lost

Saina Nehwal is battling poor form (File Pic)

India’s journey in the Super 750 badminton tournament Japan Open was mixed. While another star player Kidambi Srikanth won big, Commonwealth champion Lakshya Sen had to face defeat. World No. 4 Srikanth registered a stunning straight-game win over Li Ji Jia. Former world number one Srikanth defeated fifth seed Lee 22-20, 23-21 in the men’s singles match that lasted 37 minutes. This is his first win over the Malaysian in four matches.

Lakshya Sen lost

The 21-year-old, who hails from Almora and the 2021 World Championships bronze medalist, lost 21-18, 14-21, 13-21 to world No. 21 local Kenta Nishimoto in men’s singles match. The match lasted for one hour and six minutes. This is his first defeat at the hands of a Japanese player in two matches. London Olympics bronze medalist Saina Nehwal too could not pose any challenge to top seed Akane Yamaguchi and went down 9-21, 17-21 to the title contender, a local player, in a 30-minute match.

Arjun-Kapila pair lost

The fast-rising men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who reached the World Championships quarter-finals at No. 26 in the world, won 21-19, 21-23, 15-21 against Korea’s Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho. Lost. In another match, women’s doubles pair of Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Gayatri Gopichand and Trisa Jolly lost 17-21, 18-21 to seventh seeded Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

Srikanth’s strong comeback

Srikkanth showed amazing fighting spirit but in the middle he also gave Lee a chance to come back. At one point he was leading 15-11 but he gave his opponent a chance to score three points in a row. Srikanth, however, took a strong lead after scoring five points and then won the first game.

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Lee played well in the second game and took the lead from the start. At one point he was leading 14-11 but Srikanth soon took the lead at 18-16 and was close to winning the match at 20-18. Lee, however, saved two match points and earned a game point himself. Srikanth did not let the match drag on by scoring three points. In the second men’s singles, Lakshya Sen performed brilliantly in the first game. They soon took the lead 7-2 and then 15-9. Sen won the first game easily. Sen had started well in the second game to take an 8-4 lead but lost his momentum after that. Nishimoto took full advantage of this and then he dominated the Indian player

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