It was a mixed day for India at the 2023 BWF Badminton World Championships on Monday, 21 August, with top stars HS Prannoy and Lakshya Sen advancing to the second round while former silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth crashed out the first round.
Prannoy, the highest-ranked Indian male player at world number 9, defeated Kalle Koljonen, the world number 57 from Finland, 24-22, 21-10 in a Round of 64 match.
Lakshya Sen, who won a bronze medal in the 2021 edition of the World Championship, had an even easier time on the court, beating world number 111 Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius 21-12, 21-7 in his first-round encounter.
However, India suffered a setback when Kidambi Srikanth, winner of the silver medal in the 2021 edition played at Huelva, Spain, crashed out in the first round, losing to Japan's World No.15 Kenta Nishimoto in straight games.
Former world number one Srikanth, who has now slipped to number 20 in the latest BWF World Rankings, lost to the Japanese 14-21, 14-21 in 47 minutes in the match played on Court 2.
Prannoy Beats Koljonen
Earlier in the day, the Indian mixed doubles pair of Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy bowed out of the competition after losing 21-14, 20-22, 21-18 to the Scottish pair of Adam Hall and Julie Macpherson in a hard-fought contest.
Prannoy was the first Indian singles player to take the court and came out unscathed, though Koljonen gave the Indian a tough fight in the opening game.
Koljonen took an early lead at 8-4 but the Indian came back and surged to a 10-8 lead. The players went neck-and-neck as the lead changed hands several times before the Finn had four game points at 20-17. However, Prannoy, the star of India's Thomas Cup winning campaign last year, came back strongly to save the game points as they tied at 22-22. Prannoy, however, went on to win the game 24-22.
The second game was a much more straightforward affair with Prannoy dominating the shuttler from Finland. The Indian star maintained a firm grip over the proceedings and pocketed the match in 43 minutes.
India's Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen got off to a strong start and raced to an 11-3 lead over Georges Julien Paul early on. The Indian cruised through the match and sealed the affair in just 25 minutes.
This was Lakshya Sen’s second win over Georges Julien Paul. The Indian badminton player had defeated Paul at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham as well.
In the women's singles, India's PV Sindhu got a bye in the first round.