Japan Open: HS Prannoy advances to quarter-finals, Saina Nehwal, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth lose on a horrid day

BWF World Championships - Day Five
India's HS Prannoy in action. (PC: Getty Images)

Indian badminton star and old warhorse HS Prannoy stormed into the quarter-finals of the ongoing Japan Open 2022 after beating Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in a pulsating match on Thursday, September 1.

The clinical HS Prannoy made the right moves and overcame stiff resistance from Yew to triumph 22-20, 21-19 in a close match. Prannoy will meet Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien-Chen in the quarter-finals.

Later in the evening, Kidambi Srikanth, who shocked World Number 5 Malaysian Lee Zii Jia on Wednesday, couldn't extend his run. He went down 10-21, 16-21 to local favorite and World Number 17 Kanta Tsuneyama.

The Japanese defeated Srikanth at the Korean Open in 2019 in their only meeting prior to this.

Meanwhile, young Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen also lost steam and crashed out in the first round. The top-seeded Indian lost to Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 21-18, 14-21, 13-21.

Read: Japan Open 2022: Preview, full list of Indian shuttlers playing, schedule, where to watch & live streaming details

It was curtains for Saina Nehwal too as she ran into newly-crowned world champion Akane Yamaguchi. The Japanese shuttler, playing in front of her home crowd, was ruthless and knocked Saina Nehwal out 21-9, 21-17.

The Indian doubles duo of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, too, tasted defeat as they lost to South Korea's Choi Sol-Gyu and Kim Won Ho 21-19, 21-23, 15-21. Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand faced an early exit from the tournament as well, losing to the Thai duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 17-21, 18-21.

HS Prannoy at his best in defeating Loh Kean Yew

HS Prannoy went all the way in a pulsating round-of-16 match against Loh Kean Yew. The Indian showed nerves of steel as he fought back from 11-19 and 6-14 in both games to emerge victorious.

HS Prannoy made a good start but quickly lost momentum with his opponent recording five straight points from 7-8 to move to a 11-8 lead at the break. Loh continued to dominate the rallies after the resumption, with his fast-paced game helping him sit comfortably at 17-11 at one stage.

It was here that the Indian brought out his best game. He produced a six-point burst to draw parity at 17-17. Even though Loh grabbed three game points, the Singaporean erred twice with his backhands going into the net. Prannoy reeled off the remaining points to take the lead.

In the second game, Loh once again came out with all cylinders blazing to zoom to a 11-4 advantage. He rode short rallies, while the Indian faltered with his length as his cross-court returns went wide.

However, HS Prannoy showed his steely resolve as he soon scripted a brilliant recovery to claw back 16-16 after a net exchange.

The Indian tried to take the pace off in the rallies and make Loh move around with his angled returns. He also produced some solid body attacks, which Loh couldn't negotiate, and his net play was also superior to his opponent.

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HS Prannoy soon grabbed two match points. While Loh saved one before sailing wide, Prannoy made sure the game did not go to extended points and advanced to the quarter-finals.

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Edited by Puranjay
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