Tokyo: Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion Lakshya Sen continued his impressive run, trouncing Danish Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in straight games to progress to the men’s singles second round at the BWF World Championships here Monday. Also making it to the second round were Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy.
India also registered twin wins in women’s and mixed doubles competition on the opening day. However, B Sai Praneeth bowed out after losing in three games to World No. 4 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei.
The 20-year-old Lakshya Sen had returned with a bronze on his World Championships debut in Spain last year. He prevailed 21-12, 21-11 over an erratic Vittinghus in the opening match. Sen will next face Luís Enrique Penalver of Spain.
Praneeth, a 2019 bronze medallist, put up a brave effort before going down 15-21, 21-15, 15-21 to Chen in little over an hour. It was yet another forgettable outing here for Praneeth, following his struggles at last year’s Olympic Games, where he participated without a proper coach or physio to bow out early.
Birmingham CWG bronze medallist Srikanth, seeded 12th in the tournament, had to toil in his 22-20, 21-19 win over Nhat Nguyen of Ireland, while Prannoy secured a dominating 21-12, 21-11 win over Luka Wraber of Austria.
Srikanth will face Zhao Jun Peng of China in the second round while Prannoy will be up against second seed Kento Momota of Japan. Prannoy has never beaten Momota in his career.
Former CWG bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy progressed to the women’s doubles second round with a 21-7, 21-9 win over Maldives’ Aminath Nabeeha Abdul Razzaq and Fathimath Nabaaha Abdul Razzaq. Ashwini and Sikki will face an uphill task of taming top seeds Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan of China in the second round.
In mixed doubles, Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar defeated German duo of Patrick Scheiel and Franziska Volkmann 21-13, 21-13 in 29 minutes to also make a positive start to their campaign. The Indian pair will meet 14th seeds Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran of Thailand next.
In another women’s doubles match, India’s Pooja Dandu and Sanjana Santosh beat the Peru pair of Ines Lucia Salazar and Paula Regal 21-6, 10-21, 21-14.
Sen, seeded ninth, played some exceptional cross court returns from deep forehand to trouble the 36-year-old Danish, who had come into the match with a 2-1 head-to-head count against the Indian.
There was no lack of effort from the veteran Danish, but he couldn’t stop Sen from running away with the opening game, with the Indian always staying a step ahead.
A relentless Vittinghus kept testing the Indian by engaging him in fast-paced rallies, one of which was of 31 shots, but Sen used his winners to finish them off or the Danish miscued.
In the mid-game interval of second game, Sen again managed a four-point advantage after Vittinghus sent one wide, and slapped his head in frustration. At 11-15, Vittinghus made Sen twist and turn with his angled returns to win a point, but he was too erratic to put any pressure on his opponent.
Soon, five straight points took Sen to match points and he sealed it with a smash.
Among others, B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri lost 11-21, 21-19, 15-21 to Masayuki Onodera and Hiroki Okamura in men’s doubles. In women’s singles, Malvika Bansod also bowed out in the opening round after losing 14-21, 12-21 to Denmark’s Line Christophersen.