Indonesia Masters Super 500: Lakshya Sen defeats Kodai Naraoka, Srikanth Kidambi bows out

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In a battle of familiar rivals from their junior days, Lakshya Sen prevailed against fast-rising Japanese star Kodai Naraoka in straight games to move into the second round of the Indonesia Masters Super 500 event in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Naraoka, who had spent more than six hours on court during his run to the final at Malaysia Open Super 1000 two weeks ago, looked to be struggling physically towards the end of the match. But Lakshya Sen’s aggressive approach also paid dividends as he won 21-12, 21-11 in 44 minutes.

With this win, Lakshya’s head-to-head against Naraoka stood at 2-3, having previously won the Youth Olympic Games semifinal in 2018. The Indian, now ranked 12 in the world, will face Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong next in a rematch of the men’s singles final at the Commonwealth Games that the Indian won to be crowned champion.

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Elsewhere, Srikanth Kidambi bowed out in straight games against local shuttler Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 10-21, 22-24. The Indian had two game point opportunities in the second game to force a decider but the world No 26, who had never lost to Srikanth in four previous meetings, took the match in straight games.

Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy, Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap and Priyanshu Rajawat (who qualified for the main draw with two wins on Tuesday) will be among the Indians in action later.

Also on Tuesday, new women’s doubles pairing of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa made their way to the second round after defeating compatriots Ashna Roya and Haritha MH. Ponnappa, however, could not progress in mixed doubles to the main draw as she lost out with Sumeeth Reddy.

There were defeats in the men’s doubles main draw opening round for Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek too. B Sai Praneeth won one match in the qualification but failed to secure a passage to the main draw after losing his second. Kiran George and Mithun Manjunath also bowed out in the men’s singles qualification stage.

(More to follow)

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