Hong Kong Open main draw: Parupalli Kashyap resurfaces

Kowloon: Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap on Tuesday notched up twin wins to qualify for the men’s singles main draw at the $400,000 Hong Kong Open Super Series.

The Indian who was competing in the qualification round, first disposed Chinese Taipei’s Kan Chao Yu 21-12 21-10, before outclassing local boy Lee Cheuk Yiu 21-13 21-19 to earn a place in the main draw. The 31-year-old will next face Korean Lee Dong Keun in the opening round.

It was however a mixed day for the Indians in the doubles category. While the men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok made a great start defeating Li Kuen Hon and Yeung Shing Choi of Hong Kong 21-14 21-18. But went down 19-21 17-21 to Korean combo of Kim Won Ho and Seung Jae Seo to bow out of the tournament.

The recently crowned National Champions pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, however were knocked out of the tournament after losing 18-21 11-21 to the Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the qualifiers.

Meanwhile, the Indian contingent as a whole will look to bounce back from their dismal performance at the China Open where a single shuttler from the country failed to qualify for the semi-finals in the tournament. It was also for the first time, since Sai Praneeth won the Singapore Open in April, that a single Indian failed to progress behind the quarters in a Super Series this year. Sindhu who managed to reach the quarter-finals before suffering an unexpected defeat was the sole exception, as others faltered early in the event.

With seven Super Series titles and six Grand Prix Gold titles, this season has by far been India’s best run in badminton and they will aim to add another feather to their crown when the Indian contingent led by world no. 2, PV Sindhu begin their campaign at the Hong Kong Open. Hopes will however be high in National Champions Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy who lie in danger of missing out the Dubai Finals and will have to perform out of expectations, if they are to make the cut. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth, who gave the tournament a miss owing to the muscle strain he suffered during the National Championships have already qualified for the event.

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