Talented shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat shocked Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen in an all-Indian clash to join HS Prannoy in the second round of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament in New Delhi on Tuesday. Rajawat, world no. 30, rallied from a game down to edge out an erratic Sen, ranked 19th, 16-21 21-16 21-13 in a 75-minute opening round match in the national capital. It was a second straight first-round exit for Sen, which further jeopardises his Olympic qualification chances.
Prannoy, the world No.9 Indian, dished out a compact game to outwit Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, ranked 13th, 21-6 21-19 in a 42-minute match at the KD Jadhav Indoor hall earlier in the day.
Prannoy will take on Rajawat in the second round.
“The planning was spot on in the first game. I was executing good shots from back of the court. He was not getting the length well, so I had to wrap it up,” Prannoy said after the match.
“In the second game, he was pushing the speed and finishing a lot of shuttle from the back but I was happy to fight back from 11-16 and towards the end, I was playing the right game.
“It was important to close it in two games because if it is the third game, then it is always a tough one as he (Chen) pushes with his experience.” Prannoy got into a nice rhythm right at the start, mixing his half smashes, drops and tosses from the back court.
Chen struggled to negotiate the length of the shuttle that Prannoy was playing and ended up committing too many errors. Soon, the Indian had an overwhelming 11-2 lead at the break.
He continued to dominate the rallies as Chen surrendered the opening game meekly in the end.
A small crowd had gathered by the time Prannoy took the court and chants of “HSP” and “India” filled the air in the stadium.
Prannoy, who was silently going about his business till then, started celebrating his points gusto in the second game which had begun on an even note.
However, he found himself 11-16 down when Chen stepped up and started playing some good cross-court shots from the back.
Just when it seemed the match will go into the decider, Prannoy fought back to be at 16-16 with a precise net return.
The Indian played more soft shots and drew Chen to the nets, extracting errors from his opponent to eventually nose ahead.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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