German Open Badminton: Kidambi Srikanth makes a winning start
Indian badminton ace Kidambi Srikanth made a blazing start to his title aspirations at the $120, 000 German Open Grand Prix Gold with a comfortable 21-4, 21-11 victory over the 170th ranked Slovenian Alen Roj at Mülheim an der Ruh on Tuesday. The 12th needed just 21 minutes for the win.
This is the first tournament for the Pullela Gopichand protégé after a one-month hiatus. He had opted to take time off after his semi-final exit from the Syed Modi International to recuperate fully from an ankle injury that he sustained last year as well as to prepare well for the hectic Superseries season coming up.
Srikanth next faces the young Japanese Yusuke Onodera, who is presently ranked just 142nd. Onodera pulled off a gutsy 21-18, 19-21, 21-16 win over the 97th ranked Dutch shuttler Mark Caljouw.
Subhankar Dey wins, Harsheel Dani exits
There were a couple of Indian winners besides Srikanth on Day 1 of the German Open. Subhankar Dey did not let a difference of 66 ranking places between him and the World No. 53 Zhao Junpeng matter as he held his nerves for a commendable 16-21, 21-17, 21-19 win over the Chinese. The marathon lasted 52 minutes.
He has a tough task up next as he squares off against the fifth seed NG Ka Long Angus. The Hong Kong player has been in sizzling form for the past few weeks and captured the Hong Kong Open Superseries title in November apart from adding the Malaysia Masters crown in January.
He has brought that same form into the German Open and thrashed local player Max Weisskirchen, 21-10, 21-9 in the first round.
20-year-old Harshit Aggarwal was the other one to enter the second round. He won his qualifying round and then went on to beat the 105th ranked American Bjorn Seguin, 18-21, 21-8, 21-16 in the first round of the main draw. He will face the eighth seed Hu Yun next.
Curtains, however, came down on the campaigns of Siril Verma, Harsheel Dani and Rahul Yadav Chittaboina. The Syed Modi International semi-finalist Dani could not produce much resistance against the sixth seed Chou Tien Chen and went down 13-21, 12-21.
Siril Verma lost 13-21, 10-21 to the third seed and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan while Chittaboina was shown the door, 18-21, 18-21 by Misha Zilberman.