Hong Kong Open 2017: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy enter second round

hs prannoy
HS Prannoy had to work the hardest for a win

The trio of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy entered the second round of the $400,000 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open 2017 even as the rest of the Indian contingent crashed out of the season’s final Superseries event in Kowloon, Hong Kong on Wednesday. Among the three, it was the US Open champion HS Prannoy who had to work the hardest to secure his 19-21, 21-17, 21-15 win over the 24th ranked Hu Yun.

The Hong Kong player, formerly ranked No. 4, had the upper hand for most of the match. The two were evenly poised till 16-16 in the first game. Prannoy then saved three game points but was unable to save a fourth one as his opponent wrapped up the opener, 21-19.

Prannoy turned the tables in the second game only to see Hu Yun race away to a 5-1 lead in the decider. The lower-ranked player was in the lead till 11-8 after which Prannoy exuded his trademark fighting skills to level the game at 12-12.

Then from a 14-14 tie, he broke away to 17-14 and held on to it till the end in this 61-minute clash.

The World No. 10 next meets the 25th ranked Kazumasa Sakai, who advanced to the second round courtesy of a walkover given by the top seeded Viktor Axelsen. Sakai had saved five match points to edge Prannoy in their last encounter at the Indonesia Open.

Also read:Hong Kong Open 2017: Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu handed tough draws

Saina labours to win, Sindhu has it easy

Second seed and defending runner-up PV Sindhu made quite a statement with a brilliant 21-18, 21-10 win over the 17-year-old Leung Yuet Yee of Hong Kong. The difference in experience showed as the Indian stormed back from a 13-15 deficit to close out the opening game.

In the second, she simply stamped her class and never relinquished control to complete the win in just 26 minutes. Next up for the World Championships silver medallist is the 14th ranked Aya Ohori, who is already touted to be the next big Japanese star.

In contrast to Sindhu, former champion Saina Nehwal laboured to her first round win. Nehwal staved off a tough challenge in both the games from the 44th ranked Mette Poulsen of Denmark to register a 21-19, 23-21 victory in 46 minutes. Saina had to save a game point in the second game and won the match on her second match point.

The former World No. 1 has a tough challenge up next as she faces the eighth seeded Chen Yufei for a place in the quarter-finals.

Also read: Saina Nehwal set to climb back into the top 10 of the BWF world rankings

Kashyap squanders multiple match points

None of the other Indians could win on Day 2 of the Hong Kong Open. Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who is a qualifier at this tournament, had the most heartbreaking loss of the day. He squandered three match points to slump to a 21-15, 9-21, 20-22 defeat to the World No. 52 Lee Dong Keun of Korea.

Sourabh Verma, who has come back from an ankle injury, lost 15-21, 8-21 to Tommy Sugiarto. Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth could not give any resistance to the second seeded Son Wan Ho and fell 8-21, 16-21.

In women’s doubles, the national champions Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy battled hard for 55 minutes but had to ultimately taste an 11-21, 21-19, 19-21 defeat at the hands of the Chinese pair of Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei.

The men’s doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy was beaten 17-21, 17-21 by Khim Wah Lim and Yoo Yeon Seong.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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