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Updated January 16th, 2024 at 19:54 IST

India Open: Things get more difficult for Lakshya Sen in Olympics qualification, loses to Rajawat

Upcoming shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat came from a game down to upset Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen, and also hurt his Olympics Qualification bid.

Lakshya Sen reacts after losing at the India Open 2023
Lakshya Sen reacts after losing at the India Open 2023 | Image:PTI
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Upcoming shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat came from a game down to upset Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen while Asian Games bronze medallist HS Prannoy packed off Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in straight games on the opening day of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2024, organised by Badminton Association of India, at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

Rajawat, who was part of the country’s 2022 Thomas Cup winning squad, showcased remarkable resilience to secure a 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 victory over his illustrious compatriot while Prannoy defeated Chou 21-6, 21-19 to advance to the second round of the Super 750 badminton tournament.

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With the second men’s singles berth for the Paris Olympics up for grabs, the clash between Rajawat and Sen was always going to be the highlight of the opening day.

Former champion Sen was the first to get off the blocks as he pocketed the opening game only for Rajawat to step on the accelerator. The 21-year-old, who had lost in the only previous meeting between the two on the BWF circuit at the Japan Open 2023, then showed the maturity to extend the rallies and temper his aggression to win the 75-minute encounter.

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Reflecting on his victory, Priyanshu Rajawat expressed, “Today marked my first good game in quite a while, especially after the break I took due to my back injury. Lakshya is a very good friend of mine but it was important for me to win this match against him and progress to the next round. I stuck to my natural playing style throughout and despite losing the first game, I was determined not to let go of the second and third games at any cost. I am looking forward to the next game against HS Prannoy and want to give my 100% to win.”

He will now face eighth seed HS Prannoy in the second round.

Earlier, world no. 8, dominated the opening game against Chou and then fought back from a 11-16 deficit in the second game by winning six straight points to take a 17-16 lead and then wrapped up the match in 42 minutes.

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"The planning was pretty spot on in the first game. I got to understand that he was not able to get the length properly in the first game, so I had to wrap it up really quickly before he got into that rally mode. In the second game, as expected, he started to push the speed and was able to finish a lot of shuttles from behind. I didn't hit really hard towards the end of the game and was trying to play softer shots,” said Prannoy after the match.

Prannoy also thanked the crowd for supporting him when the chips were down and said he expected the support to go up as the tournament progresses.

Meanwhile, India's Kiran George fought valiantly but endured a 12-21, 15-21 loss against Wang Tzu-Wei of Chinese Taipei in his tournament opener. In women's doubles action, Rutaparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda went down against Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam of Hong Kong 6-21, 7-21.

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The Chinese contingent made their mark on Day One of the HSBC BWF Super 750 event with Asian Games 2022 gold medallist Li Shi Feng securing a hard-fought victory in men’s singles and two-time World Championships bronze medallist He Bing Jiao advancing in women’s singles. While Feng prevailed over 2019 World Championships 2019 bronze medallist Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand with a 19-21, 21-15, 21-15 win, Bing Jiao defeated 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michelle Li of Canada 21-17, 21-15.

Reigning men’s doubles world champions Kang Min-hyuk and Seo Seung Jae of South Korea kicked off their campaign with a convincing 21-18, 21-14 victory over Garmany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Seidel.

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The tournament will be broadcast on Eurosport and JioCinema and badminton lovers can enjoy watching the action on all six days as BAI has decided to keep the entry for the tournament for free.

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Published January 16th, 2024 at 19:54 IST

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