17-year-old Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has been touted as the next best Indian doubles star for quite some time and on Tuesday, the teen did justice to his immense talent by winning as many as four matches in the qualifying rounds at the $325, 000 Daihatsu Yonex Japan Open Superseries in Tokyo. The massive effort resulted in him qualifying for the main draw in both the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles categories.
Alongside the veteran Ashwini Ponnappa, he first beat the Japanese pair of Hiroki Midorikawa and Natsu Saito 21-13, 21-15 and followed it up with yet another effortless victory 21-18, 21-9 over the Japanese combine of Hiroki Okamura and Naru Shinoya.
The Indian pair now has the unseeded Thai duo of Tinn Isriyanet and Pacharapun Chochuwong in the first round of the main draw before a possible showdown with the fourth seeds Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto in the second.
Satwiksairaj also teamed up with Chirag Shetty for a couple of wins in men’s doubles where things were not as smooth. The two had to work hard for a gritty 14-21, 22-20, 21-18 win over Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Hiroyuki Saeki, taking 59 minutes. In the final qualifying round, they prevailed over Keiichiro Matsui and Yoshinori Takeuchi of Japan 21-18, 21-12 to set up a tough first round showdown with the third seeds and Korea Open runners-up Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljyo of Indonesia.
Chopra and Reddy pull off first-round win
There was delight in mixed doubles too as the India No. 1 pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy bounced back from a second game deficit to register a 21-19, 17-21, 21-15 first round win over the Japanese combine of Tomoya Takashina and Rie Etoh in 58 minutes.
The Syed Modi International champions had been ending up on the losing side in close matches of late. This three-game triumph will surely act as a major confidence-booster for the World No. 20 pair.
Kashyap bows out
The only disappointment of the day for the Indian contingent was when the Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap bowed out in three games in the final qualifying round. The World No. 45 is making his way back to the top echelons after missing a chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury sustained in January at the Premier Badminton League.
He comfortably beat World No. 37 Emil Holst 21-15, 21-14 in the first round but failed to build on it as he succumbed to an 11-21, 21-18, 14-21 defeat at the hands of the 74th ranked Yu Igarashi of Japan.