HS Prannoy stunned the legendary Lin Dan of China before Saina Nehwal cruised into the second round with an easy win against local player Dinar Dyah Ayustine at the Indonesia Open badminton tournament on Tuesday.
World No. 13 Prannoy took exactly one hour to prevail over the Chinese stalwart 21-15 9-21 21-14 in the first round of the men's singles in the World Tour Super 1000 event.
Prannoy started off well against eighth-ranked Lin Dan, winning the first game 21-15. However, the Chinese shuttler came back strong to level the match.
Prannoy then dug deep into his reservoir to see off the iconic shuttler in the third game at the USD 1,250,000 event. Prannoy had also got the better of Lin Dan at the 2015 French Open.
"I am really happy, I had a couple of months off. Getting back to tournament was really great. Having such a big win against Lin Dan, that too in such tough conditions, especially the drifts, is great," Prannoy said after the match.
"The way I played the first game was very good from my side, especially the crucial juncture in the third game around after the 11 was really crucial to get that big win. Looking forward to the second round matches."
In the second round, Prannoy plays Chinese Taipei's Wang Tzu Wei who defeated India's Sai Praneeth 21-10 21-13 in another men's singles first round match.
Saina, on the other hand, needed 35 minutes to notch up a straight set (21-12 21-12) win over her Indonesian opponent.
In the first game, the Olympic medallist Indian led from the start to end. She opened up a 7-2 lead before Ayustine closed the gap at 6-7. That was the closest the Indonesian could go as Saina won her points in quick time. Saina zoomed to 17-9 and then grabbed the first game without any difficulty.
The second game was also a cakewalk for Saina as she won nine points on the trot after both the players were tied 1-1. Ayustine recovered some lost ground but Saina ensured that the match ended in two games.
In other matches, Sameer Verma pipped Rasmus Gemke of Denmark 21-9 12-21 22-20 to advance to the men's singles second round while the women's doubles pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram went down to the Indonesian pair of Agatha Imanuela and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti 11-21 18-21.