From a correspondent
New Delhi, March 28,
HS Prannoy announced his return to form with a gritty 14-21, 21-18, 21-14 win over the eighth seed and World No. 17 Kantaphon Wangcharoen in 68 minutes to enter the second round of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Wednesday. This was Prannoy’s third consecutive three-game duel with the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals qualifier and was a proof that the former national champion is very much on his way back after his recent health troubles.
The Keralite had been suffering from gastro-oesophagal reflux disease in the last few months, which he is currently recovering from.
“I have been consulting doctors in the United States,” said Prannoy after the match. “I can say it has helped me stand in the court right now. Probably 80% of the things have fallen in place. There are areas I have to focus on like the diet plan that has been given to me. I should be much better comparatively in the next 4-5 months,” he hoped.
World No. 15 Sameer Verma overcame an early resistance from the 29th ranked Rasmus Gemke of Denmark before recording a 21-18, 21-12 win. The fifth seed trailed 16-18 from where he rediscovered his rhythm and ran away with the match in 49 minutes.
Verma stressed on the change of pace that helped him win the match. “In terms of change in my strategy, I brought about a change of pace and changed my strokes too,” explained Sameer.
Swiss Open runner-up Sai Praneeth stormed back from a game down to edge Kartikey Gulshan Kumar 22-24, 21-13, 21-8 in 59 minutes.
However, former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt succumbed to an 18-21, 11-21 defeat to Thailand’s World No. 36 Sitthikom Thammasin. Kartik Jindal’s brave run came to an end at the hands of the seventh seed Khosit Phetpradab 17-21, 8-21.
Riya Mookerjee impresses
World No. 92 Riya Mookerjee recorded her first win over Phittayaporn Chaiwan in three meetings. Continuing her good form from last week’s Swiss Open, where she had made it to the quarters, the 20-year-old accounted for the 86th ranked Thai 21-17, 21-15 in a mini-upset.
Having learned from her previous experience of playing Chaiwan, the youngster was ready this time for the Thai’s drop shots.
Intanon eyeing the third crown
Former champions Ratchanok Intanon and Li Xuerui made a good start to their respective campaigns. The fourth-seeded Intanon, who is eyeing a third title at this prestigious event, comfortably beat India’s Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka 21-9, 21-6. London Olympic gold medallist Xuerui, the winner of this tournament in 2012, overcame a tough opponent in Nitchaon Jindapol with a 21-17, 21-11 scoreline.
Third seed He Bingjiao needed 30 minutes to dismiss India’s Prashi Joshi 21-12, 21-15 and was joined by her compatriot Chen Xiaoxin following her 21-15, 21-11 victory over Yulia Yosephin Susanto.
In doubles, sixth seeds Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy blew away younger countrymen Ravi and Lakshay Saroha 21-14, 21-7. Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma, who qualified for the main draw, made short work of Senthil Vel Govindarasu and Vembarasan Venkatachalam 21-13, 21-13. In women’s doubles, the pairs of Pooja Dandu-Sanjana Santosh and Venkata Ramya Tulasi Bailupudi-Shivani Santosh Singh made it through Round 2.