Unheralded Indian Mithun Manjunath stunned fourth seed and world number seven Kean Yew Loh of Singapore in the opening round while PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth secured straight-game wins at the Australian Open badminton tournament in Sydney on Wednesday. Manjunath, ranked 50th in the world, beat Loh 21-19 21-19 in the men’s singles first round match that lasted 41 minutes. Manjunath faces the winner of the match between Lee Zii Jia and Leong Jun Hao — both Malaysians — in the second round of the BWF Super 500 tournament.
Meanwhile, Lakshya Sen conceded his men’s singles match against compatriot Kiran George due to an injury. Sen was trailing 0-5 in the opening game when he decided to quit.
Fifth seed Sindhu, who has lost in the first round at seven different tour events this season and is playing under a new personal coach in Malaysia’s Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, defeated compatriot Ashmita Chaliha 21-18 21-13 in 36 minutes in her opening women’s singles match.
In other men’s singles opening round matches, Srikanth, world No.19, defeated Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-18 21-7, while sixth seed HS Prannoy had to dig deep to beat Cheuk Yiu Lee of Hong Kong 21-18 16-21 21-15.
Rising shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat also tasted success as he beat Australia’s Nathan Tang 21-12 21-16.
Among other Indians in the fray on Wednesday, Aakarshi Kashyap beat Malaysia’s Jin Wei Goh 21-15 21-17, but it was curtains for Malvika Bansod as she lost 20-22 11-21 against Yu Po Pai of Chinese Taipei.
Only one Indian will survive after the second round in the women’s singles as Sindhu and Kashyap are pitted against each other.
The Indian mixed doubles pair of Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy made first round exit after losing 14-21 18-21 to world No.5 and third seeded Korean pair of Seung Jae Seo and Yu Jung Chae.
In the men’s singles second round, Prannoy will take on Yu Jen Chi of Chinese Taipei, while Rajawat and Srikanth will be up against opponents from Taipei in Tzu Wei Wang and Li Yang Su respectively.
The tournament is the last event before the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.
One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.
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