Japan Masters Super 500: HS Prannoy returns with a win; Lakshya Sen bows out in opening round

HS Prannoy returned to the World Tour circuit with a hard-fought win against Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong at the ongoing 2023 Japan Masters Super 500 on Wednesday.

The Indian prevailed 22-20, 19-21, 21-17 in a 64-minute long contest.

Prannoy, who last competed during his historic Asian Games campaign in October, started off well as he raced to an 11-6 lead at the first mid-game break.

The world No. 18, however, soon bounced back well to level things up at 14-14. The Hong Kong shuttler kept mounting on the pressure, but Prannoy emerged out on top with the score reading 22-20 in his favour.

The second game saw Prannoy race to an 11-8 lead before extending it to 14-8 but with the match at stake, Cheuk Yiu fought back once again. The 27-year-old equalised at 17-17 as errors overflowed from the Indian’s racquet before forcing a decider at 21-19.

Prannoy, who has made it a habit of grinding out in long three-game battles, then brought out his A-game late in the decider to wrap up the game and the match.

Lakshya, Priyanshu bow out

Earlier in the day, India’s Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu Rajawat crashed out of the tournament after losing their respective men’s singles matches.

While Sen went down 17-21, 10-21 to Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, Rajawat suffered the same fate against Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chun-Yi.

Sen and Rajawat’s defeats mean that Prannoy is the only surviving Indian at the 2023 Japan Masters. The men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had lost their first round match on Tuesday.

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