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Rediff.com  » Sports » Anand Pawar, Srikanth score upset wins at Japan Open

Anand Pawar, Srikanth score upset wins at Japan Open

September 18, 2013 15:09 IST

Rising Indian shuttler P V Sindhu entered the second round easily, but it was Anand Pawar and K Srikanth who created a flutter at the Japan Open, in Tokyo, scoring upset victories over higher-ranked opponents.

Sindhu, seeded eighth, brushed aside local shuttler Yukino Nakai 21-12, 21-13 in less than 30 minutes to set up a meeting with another Japanese, qualifier Akane Yamaguchi, in the women's singles second round on Thursday.

However, it was Pawar who hogged the limelight as he scripted a 21-17, 7-21, 21-18 victory over world No 12 Sony Dwi Kuncoro, of Indonesia, a 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medallist.

Anand PawarThe 59-minute battle saw the world No 37 Indian ride on clear winners to surprise Kuncoro, who won a silver and bronze medal at the World Championships in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Thailand Grand Prix Gold winner Srikanth, who was in rollicking form in the recent Indian Badminton league, also continued with his giant-killing way, registering a hard-fought 22-20, 22-24, 21-18 victory over world No 22 Sho Sasaki of Japan, in 68 minutes.

Srikanth will meet second seed and world No 2 Chen Long of China.

Among other Indians, Ajay Jayaram prevailed over Chinese Taipei's Tien Chen Chou 21-11, 21-18 in another men's singles match even as Sourabh Verma and Sai Praneeth B failed to cross the first hurdle.

While Jun Takemura of Japan spoilt Sourabh's campaign with a 22-24, 21-19, 21-14 win, Sai Praneeth lost to eighth seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong 21-23, 18-21.

It was also the end of the road for Tanvi Lad. She went down 15-21, 10-21 to Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the opening match.

India's men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B, however, entered the second round with a 21-17, 21-15 win over the local combo of Hiroyuki Saeki and Ryota Taohata in an opening round match.

It was an edge-of-the-seat encounter between Srikanth and Sho as the duo didn't give an inch away right from the start. They went neck and neck from 3-3 to 20-20 before the Indian grabbed two points to earn the bragging rights.

In the second game, Sho dominated the proceedings early on, taking a 7-1 lead, but Srikanth clawed his way back to make it 11-11 before the Japanese again surged ahead 18-12.

Though Srikanth bounced back and was level at 20-20 and held on till

22-22, Sho played out of his skin and pocketed the second game.

In the decider, Srikanth raced to a 11-5 lead at the interval but Sho reduced the gap to 13-14. The Indian, though, was not ready to let it go after coming so far and won the crunch points to emerge triumphant.

Earlier, Pawar showed sparks of brilliance as he led 8-5 early on and then kept extending the gap to walk away with the first game.

However, in the second game, Kuncoro didn't give the Indian any chance to draw level.

In the decider, Pawar raised his game and earned a 12-6 lead. Even though Kuncoro clawed his way back to 16-16, the Indian was successful after breaking off at 18-18.

Image: Anand Pawar

Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images