The Indian contingent had mixed fortunes on the opening day of the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open 2017 with Parupalli Kashyap becoming the only Indian to qualify for the main draw of the final Superseries tournament of the season in Kowloon, Hong Kong. In contrast, mixed doubles national champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa and the men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR-Shlok Ramchandran both bowed out in the qualifying rounds.
Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap was brilliant in his first round and needed just 18 minutes to prevail over the 293rd ranked Chinese Taipei shuttler, Kan Chao Yu, 21-12, 21-10.
The final qualifying round proved to be a tougher task for the World No. 47 Indian. He faced the 50th ranked local player, Lee Cheuk Yiu, who had accounted for HS Prannoy in the second round of the China Open last week.
Kashyap staved off a fightback from the Hong Kong shuttler and registered a 21-13, 21-19 victory in 38 minutes to set up a first round clash with fellow qualifier Lee Dong Keun, who is placed at 52nd in the rankings.
Kashyap snaps losing streak
With the two wins, Kashyap thus snapped a three-match losing streak. In the last seven matches heading into the Hong Kong Open, the 31-year-old has tasted victory only twice. He failed to qualify for two out of the last three Superseries events that he participated in. The only exception was at the French Open where he was promoted to the main draw.
Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran, who were seeded second in qualifying, had a hassle-free first round where they beat the Hong Kong combine of Li Kuen Hon and Yeung Shing Choi, 21-14, 21-18. They could not replicate that performance in the next round and fell 19-21, 17-21 to the Korean duo of Kim Won Ho and Seung Jae Seo.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa too could not do much and crumbled to an 18-21, 11-21 defeat at the hands of the Indonesian team of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the first round of qualifying.
Rankireddy’s Hong Kong campaign thus ended for he will not be playing in men’s doubles. Ponnappa, though, will be seen in action in women’s doubles alongside N Sikki Reddy.