2015 Japan Open Superseries: Saina, Srikanth crash out, Kashyap progresses
It was a rather disappointing day for Indian shuttlers as apart from Parupalli Kashyap, none of the other shuttlers were able to cross the second round hurdle at the Yonex Japan Open Superseries. In a major setback to Indian hopes, star Indian shuttler and World No. 1 Saina Nehwal was knocked out by World No. 18 local girl Minatsu Mitani in two straight games.
In men’s singles, H.S Prannoy failed to get past his lower ranked Korean opponent; Parupalli Kashyap got the better of compatriot and World No. 4 Kidambi Srikanth in a 45-minute match.
After a splendid performance in last month’s World Championships, a lot was expected from Saina in this tournament but she failed to continue her golden touch as she succumbed meekly to 24-year old Japanese ace Minatsu Mitani.
The 25-year old Indian, who had a win-loss record of 5-2 against Mitani prior to this match started the match on a positive note as she took a strong four-point lead in the early stages of the opening game but the Japanese shuttler crawled her way back as she grabbed few points in quick succession to back level the scores to 8 all.
It was at this point the Japanese player shifted her gears as she played some outstanding net shots followed by quick smashes. She clinched the next five points on a trot to take a decisive lead. Mitani, who ended Sindhu’s run yesterday took the opening game in 17 minutes by a score of 21-13.
The second game saw the Hyderabadi girl get off to a flying start as she hurled away to win the first six points but the underdog from Japan was in no mood to throw the game easily as she fought her way back to reduce the lead to just one point after winning five consecutive points post mid-game break.
After that the game went neck to neck till 16-all but the local girl who was getting full support of the crowd won the remaining points in a row to draw the curtains on the challenge of the Indian player. With this defeat, Saina Nehwal’s World no. 1 spot is certainly in danger. She won’t be featuring in the Korea Open which follows the ongoing Japan Open.
World No. 12 H.S Prannoy was absolutely no match to World No. 33 Korean shuttler Lee Dong Keun as he lost 9-21 16-21 in a match which lasted for 43 minutes. The 23-year old Indian, who was facing Korean for the first time in his career looked completely exhausted from the start of the match as his movement inside the court looked very tiny.
The only good news of the day came in men’s singles section where 2012 Olympic quarterfinalist and World No. 11 Parupalli Kashyap defeated compatriot and World no. 4 Kidambi Srikanth 21-11 21-19 in 45 minutes. This is Kashyap’s second consecutive victory over Srikanth. He won a hard-fought battle in the final of Syed Modi India Open Grand Prix Gold in January.
He will now play the 6th seed and World No. 7 Chou Tien Chen of Taipei for a place in last four.
Final Scoreline - Minatsu Mitani beat  Saina Nehwal 21-13 21-16
Lee Dong Keun beat H.S Prannoy 21-9 21-16
Parupalli Kashyap beat  Kidambi Srikanth 21-11 21-19