Osaka (Japan), Aug 31 (IANS) Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth advanced to the men’s singles round of 16 but compatriots Lakshya Sen and Saina Nehwal crashed out in the opening round of the Japan Open 2022 badminton tournament, here on Wednesday.
Former world No. 1 Srikanth outplayed Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, an All England champion and fifth seed at the BWF Super 750 event, 22-20, 23-21 in a thrilling encounter.
“It was a close match and could have gone either way but I am happy with the way I played. It’s important to close out games at this high level because every match is going to be tough,” Srikanth said after his victory.
“I was leading 16-12 in the first game but found myself behind 20-18 after giving away too many points. I just told myself to be consistent and not give easy points. I am always happy to win and now I will go back and think about how to beat my next opponent,” he added.
The CWG 2022 bronze -medallist will next face either Wang Tzu Wei or Kanta Tsuneyama in the next round.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen bowed out of the Japan Open after losing to home favourite Kenta Nishimoto 21-18, 14-21, 13-21 in his first match despite winning the first game.
The 21-year old Sen’s game tapered off after the mid-game break in the second game as he often went wide with his returns.
On the other hand, Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal was also knocked out after losing 9-21, 17-21 to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, new world champion.
The pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who became the first Indian men’s doubles pair to make the World Championship quarterfinals last week, were eliminated after a 21-19, 21-23, 15-21 loss to South Korea’s Choi Soi Gyu and Kim Won Ho.
CWG 2022 bronze medal winners Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand too lost 17-21, 18-21 to Thai seventh seeds Jongkolphan Kitittharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai. The mixed doubles pair of Juhi Dewangan and Venkat Gaurav Prasad lost 11-21, 10-21 to Chinese top seed Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong in 23 minutes.