New Delhi, 22 November: Seasoned campaigner HS Prannoy and men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy stormed into the second round of the China Masters badminton tournament in Shenzhen on Tuesday.
Prannoy and Chirag-Satwiksairaj, world championships bronze medallists, chalked out straight games wins in the round of 32 of the BWF Super 750 event.
World no 8 Prannoy, overwhelmed the 12th-ranked Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-18, 22-20 in 50 minutes. The 31-year-old Indian started tentatively trailing 6-9 but he soon regained his rhythm before going into the break and led 11-10.
The Indians opened up a four-point lead at 17-13 and saw off the challenge at the later stage of the first game.
The second game was a much closer affair. Both players engaged in intense rallies but neither could open up a lead of more than two points in the entire game. Chou edged ahead of Prannoy after the mid-game interval and led 18-16. However, he failed to keep the momentum going and his rival made it 18-all and sealed the contest on his second match point opportunity.
Chou had beaten Prannoy last week in the second round of the Kumamoto Masters Japan. He still leads HS Prannoy 7-5 in head-to-head record.
In the doubles, the world No. 5 pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, registered a straightforward 21-13, 21-10 victory over England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in 37 minutes.
World No. 37 Aakarshi Kashyap, the only Indian women's singles player at the China Masters, lost to world No. 17 local Zhang Yi Man 12-21, 14-21 in 33 minutes.
Aakarshi has been a regular on the BWF World Tour for this reason but has yet to progress beyond the second round. PV Sindhu, who opted to get protective rankings, gave China Masters a miss.
Results at China Masters, a BWF Super 750 event, will count towards players’ qualifying rankings for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The qualification window for badminton started on May 1 this year and will end in April 2024.