- Sameer Verma defeated Lee Zii Jia to avenge his Sudirman Cup defeat.
- PV Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap, and Sai Praneeth too progressed in to round 2.
- HS Prannoy went down fighting 18-21, 19-21 against Chinese shuttler Lin Dan.
When India lost 2-3 Sudirman Cup against Malaysia, Sameer Verma would be one to suffer the most. Afterall, the Indian had lost men’s singles game at the hands of a young Lee Zii Jia which ultimately provided Malaysia with the vital point, allowing them to advance to the quarter-finals.
However, Verma staged a fantastic revenge as Indians replied strongly in the opening round of the $150,000 prize money Australian Open badminton championships. There were moments of dismay, but the Indian shuttler showed intense grit and determination in the hard fought 21-15, 16-21, 21-12 victory that lasted over an hour.
Verma’s epic revenge perfectly capped a successful day for Indian shuttlers, with all the singles players, except HS Prannoy, proceeding through their opening round matches.
In fact, the country’s top men’s doubles combination also made a strong statement against their own compatriots.
Sameer smashes?his way into R2!@sameerv2210 fought with a warrior spirit in a thrilling one hour encounter against #LeeZiiJia of ?? in his R1 clash at #AustraliaOpenSuper300 to
win the battle of nerves at 21-15 16-21 21-12. Great spirit! ??
#IndiaontheRise #badminton pic.twitter.com/nGCjjL5Qek
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) June 5, 2019
Singles Shine in Round 1
Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth was in top form as he stunned his experienced opponent – South Korean Lee Dong Keun – 21-16, 21-14. The winner of the 2017 Singapore Open Superseries is ranked two places below his Korean rival’s 22nd spot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings.
Moreover, Lee had a 2-1 head-to-head lead before the game. However, there was not much he could do on Wednesday against the impeccable and error-free Indian. Praneeth showed a significantly improved level of physical fitness as compared to the 2018 season.
As a result of his resounding victory, he has earned a second-round game against Indonesia’s second-seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
Like Praneeth, Ginting too had to grind it out against another another Korean, Heo Kwang Hee before winning the contest 21-18, 12-21, 21-18.
More joy followed for the Indian fans with comeback man Parupalli Kashyap notched a convincing 21-16, 21-15 victory over the 27th ranked Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand. The two had met on two occasions earlier, and had a head-to-head score of 1-1.
PV Sindhu Beats Choirunnisa
Elsewhere, PV Sindhu, unsurprisingly, had little difficulty in getting over Indonesia’s teenaged qualifier Choirunnisa Choirunnisa. The only Indian woman in the competition won by a 21-14, 21-9 in a fixture that lasted for 28 minutes.
Although Choirunnisa started brightly and actually lead at 10-7 and 12-9 in the first game, Sindhu showed her experience by winning eight points of the last nine. The second round was more one-sided, with the Indian claiming an 11-4 advantage at break, before going on to comfortably win the contest. Sindhu will next meet Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol on Thursday.
HS Prannoy was not as fortunate, having bowed out of the competition after a hard fought 18-21, 19-21 battle against Lin Dan of China.
Meanwhile, all-Indian men’s doubles derby, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated fellow Indian pair of Manu Attri (26) and B Sumeeth Reddy (27), with a convincing margin of 21-12, 21-16.