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Badminton

All England Open: HS Prannoy stunned in 1st round, PV Sindhu advances to R16

World no. 32 Su Li Yang rallied back from a game down to rout the seventh-seeded HS Prannoy in the first round of All England Open. PV Sindhu, however, did not have to toil hard as her opponent Yvonne Li retired hurt.

HS Prannoy Badminton
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HS Prannoy in action during a BWF World Tour event. (FILE PHOTO: Badminton Photo/BWF)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 March 2024 5:39 AM GMT

A massive upset jolted the All England Open at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham on the opening day of the prestigious Super 1000 event on Tuesday, as world no. 8 and seventh seed HS Prannoy made a first-round exit, losing to world no. 32 Su Li Yang.

In a 67-minute men's singles Round of 32 clash, Prannoy conceded his opening-game (21-14) lead, with Li Yang routing the 31-year-old Indian in the next two games 21-13 to take the All England Open by storm.

Li Yang broke away to a 4-11 lead in the second game interval in what was their first meeting on the BWF World Tour. Though Prannoy reduced the deficit with a few quick points at 10-13, Li Yang's remarkable command over the net play and intent to engage in sapping rallies saw him draw level in the match.

In the decider, Li Yang drew level at 2-2 with a crosscourt smash, and that would break Prannoy's defence as the former broke away to a massive 11-5 lead. Prannoy, since then, looked ordinary for the remainder of the match and struggled to match Li Yang's tricky game. He lost the game and the match to make his fourth first-round exit in 2024.

Prannoy last played in the semifinal at the India Open in January.

Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth suffered a straight-game (9-21, 9-21) defeat to world no.1 Víktor Axelsen of Denmark in just 33 minutes. Srikanth paid the price for committing so many unforced errors, with his tosses going long and smashes wide.

Axelsen, on his part, also baffled Srikanth with his balletic movement and wristy strokes, forcing the former world no. 1 to play into the net. This was Srikanth's third first-round exit in 2024. It also pushed him further down in the Race to Paris -Olympic qualifying rankings.

PV Sindhu advances to Round of 16

World no. 11 PV Sindhu cruised into the second round of the women's singles event after her German opponent Yvonne Li, ranked 26th in the world, retired hurt after the Indian star won the opening game 21-10.

The 28-year-old two-time Olympic medallist, Sindhu, will face off against world no. 1 An Se Young, who is fresh from winning her second World Tour title of the year at the French Open.

Against the Korean shuttler, Sindhu has been winless since their first meeting in 2019. And in all of their past six meetings, Young won in straight games against Sindhu.

Sindhu, who made a comeback to the BWF World Tour last week after recovering from a knee injury sustained in October 2023, lost in the third round of the French Open last week.

Sindhu last won a World Tour title at the Singapore Open in 2022.

Aakarshi Kashyap, in the meantime, suffered a straight-game defeat to Chinese Taipei's Pai Yu Po. This was Aakarshi's fourth straight first-round exit at Super 500 and above events.

In the women's doubles encounter, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand - last year's semifinalists - suffered an opening-round exit, losing to Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti in straight games (21-18, 21-12).

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