National champion Mithun Manjunath made the headlines as he came up with an upset to beat World No. 7 Loh Kean Yew in the opening round of the Australian Open. Whereas PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy also started positively with comfortable wins in Sydney.
Manjunath was the star of the day as he was exceptional against Loh Kean Yew. The Indian shuttler who is ranked 50th in the world defeated Loh Kean Yew 21-19, 21-19 to progress to the next round in a match that lasted 41 minutes.
After winning the first game, Manjunath dominated the second game and had seven match points. However Loh Kean Yew came back strongly by winning six straight points but the Indian shuttler held his own to see through the tough phase.
However, Lakshya Sen had to hand a walkover to compatriot Kiran George as he was down with an injury and could not continue after playing five points.
But PV Sindhu finally broke her first-round exit streak as she won against compatriot Asmita Chaliha 21-18, 21-13. Sindhu has bowed out of the first round in seven different events this season. Sindhu will now face another Indian shuttler in Aakarshi Kashyap in the second round.
In the men’s singles opening round Srikanth Kidambi started with a win against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-18, 21-7 and looked in rhythm while winning the clash. Similarly, HS Prannoy also started positively but he had to fight hard against Cheuk Yiu Lee to win 21-18, 16-21, 21-15. Prannoy will now play against Chinese Taipei’s Chi Yu Jen.
Indian youngster Priyanshu Rajawat continues to impress as he defeated the local star Nathan Tang 21-12, 21-16 to progress through to the second round.
But the Indian mixed doubles duo of Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy bowed out of the Australian Open after they lost to the World No. 3 pairing of Seung Jae Seo and Yu Jung Chae. They lost in straight games 14-21 18-21.
Indian women’s doubles duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand are now the only doubles pairing left in the event as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pulled out of the tournament.
It is an important event for the Indian shuttlers as this is the last tournament before the World Championships scheduled in Copenhagen, Denmark.