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Japan Open 2017: Massive effort by Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, winning start for mixed doubles pair

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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1.79K   //    19 Sep 2017, 21:07 IST

Rankireddy (l) had a sensational start to the campaign
Rankireddy (l) had a sensational start to the campaign

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.

Also read: Japan Open 2017: Early test for PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal as Srikanth Kidambi returns

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.

Also read: Junior shuttler Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy's kin make strong allegations against Pullela Gopichand, threaten legal action

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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