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French Open: Prannoy stuns Olympic champion, Saina advances to 2nd round

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 6:32 IST

Indian shuttler HS Prannoy stunned reigning Olympic champion Lin Dan of China while Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap also crossed the opening hurdle to enter the second round of the French Open Super Series in Paris on 22 October.

Unseeded Prannoy rallied from a set down to beat his formidable third seeded rival 14-21 21-11 21-17 in a first round match that lasted one hour and 11 minutes at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.

Top seed Saina tamed World No 14 Michelle Li of Canada 21-18 21-13 in a 42-minute women's singles match, while eighth seed and Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap saw off local shuttler Thomas Rouxel 21-11 22-20 in a men's singles contest.

Indian women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also advanced to the second round after defeating Thailand duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-15 21-12.

However, it was curtains for World No 5 Kidambi Srikanth as he went down fighting to Tian Houwei 15-21 21-13 11-21 in a 63-minute match. This is Srikanth's fourth loss to the World No 10 Chinese this season.

Prannoy lost the opening set tamely as the veteran former world number one Lin gave him little chance after the two were tied at 7-7. Lin raced ahead to take the set 21-14 in quick time.

But the Indian made a remarkable fightback and suddenly Lin was struggling to make a match with Prannoy who led all through after the score was tied at 2-2.

In the decider, Prannoy nosed ahead initially but Lin made a fightback to level the score to 14-14 and 15-15. From then on, however, Prannoy stepped on the gas and made his final flourish to take the deciding set 21-17 and win the match.

In the women's singles match, Commonwealth Games champion Michelle made a robust start to her campaign, leading 7-3 early on but Olympic bronze-medallist Saina soon reeled off six straight points to grab the lead.

The duo then battled for each point, moving neck and neck till 16-16 when Saina surged ahead to grab the opening game.

In the second game, Saina was more ruthless as she opened up a massive 12-5 lead and didn't allow Michelle to come anywhere near her to seal the match comfortably.

Saina will next take on Japan's Minatsu Mitani who made it to the second round after her opponent Karin Schnaase of Germany retired hurt. Interestingly, Mitani had ended Saina's run at the Denmark Open last week.

In the men's singles match, Kashyap fought back from 1-3 down early on to turned the tables at 6-6. The Indian didn't look back after that as he marched ahead to pocket the first game.

Kashyap led 8-4 in the second game initially and even though Thomas did claw back at 8-8, the Indian moved ahead to 18-13.

Thomas made one more surge and drew parity at 20-20 but he failed to go the distance as Kashyap shut the door with two points.

Kashyap will next face England's Rajiv Ouseph who beat Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-6 21-12.


First published: 22 October 2015, 1:41 IST