French Open: Kidambi Srikanth beats Chen, Prannoy loses

Paris, Mar 6 (UNI) India’s Kidambi Srikanth entered the men’s singles second round after defeating Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in the French Open Super 750 badminton tournament here on Wednesday.

Srikanth, who is eyeing to qualify for the Paris Olympics, pipped Chen 21-15, 20-22, 21-8 in a 66-minute 32-round clash of the tournament.

In the next round, the Indian star will lock horns against China’s Lu Guang Zu, who spanked India’s HS Prannoy out of the tournament with a 21-17, 21-17 victory in another match.

Srikanth played incredibly well by forcing his way up after being down 5-7 down against Chen. The second game, belonged to Chen as he browbeat the World No.24 into the decider.

In the decider, Srikanth quickly sailed ahead of Chen with a 7-5 lead and from there he won nine straight nine points to leave his opponent in the lurch.

Chen managed to grab three points before Srikanth nailed the match by winning the last five points.

In the adjacent court, Prannoy’s nose was ahead but floundered in the end as Guang Zu abducted the victory from the grasp of the Indian star.

Prannoy took an early 5-2 lead in the first game, but Guang Zu won the next three points to bring the scores on par. The Indian veered past Zu to end 11-9 at the break.

The duo battled through, but the Chinese kept himself with a two-point gap, waiting for an opportunity. And the opportunity arrived when Prannoy smashed a backhand into the net to bring the score to 16-all before zooming ahead. Zu nabbed the opening game with a quick return on Prannoy’s backhand.

The Indian started badly in the second game, and it was a grueling task for him to do the catching work. Somehow he managed to bring the score to par with 6-all by unleashing down-the-line hits.

But the subsequent hits fell out of the lines as Zu took advantage of his blunders to clasp an 11-7 advantage at the break.

A steadfast Prannoy bagged straight points to equalise, but the rallies started to get hotter as the duo composed some sensational saves displaying great reflexes, but Zu was more alert as he led Prannoy 19-15.

Prannoy grabbed three straight points to keep himself in the game before Zu claimed three match points with a smash on his forehand.

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