Indonesia Masters: Lakshya Sen, Kiran George Enter Second Round; HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth Exit

Lakshya Sen and Kiran George advanced to the second round but HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth made early exits after suffering narrow losses in their respective opening matches at the Indonesia Masters Super 500 badminton tournament in Jakarta on Wednesday. World No. 19 Sen, who is looking to qualify for the Paris Olympics, avenged his Malaysia Open first-round loss to China’s Weng Hong Yang with a 24-22 21-15 win in his opening round match here.

The 23-year-old George, who had won Super 100 titles at 2022 Odisha Open and 2023 Denmark Masters, bounced back from an opening game reversal to eke out a 18-21 21-16 21-19 win over France’s Toma Junior Popov in another opening round match.

George, also a product of Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, had qualified for the main draw after registering twin wins on Tuesday.

Sen will now face either Malaysia Open champion Anders Antonsen of Denmark or Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the next round, while George will be pitted against China’s Lu Guang Zu.

However, world no. 8 Prannoy, who had reached the semifinals at India Open Super 750 last week, lost to former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 18-21 21-19 10-21 in his opening round match.

The 31-year-old Indian, who claimed maiden bronze medals at the Asian Games and world championships last year, had lost in the first round at the Malaysia Open Super 1000 tournament as well.

For former world no. 1 Srikanth, it was yet another day when he had to return empty handed despite putting up a brave effort against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, ranked 10th.

Srikanth, who is racing against time to qualify for Paris, squandered an opening game advantage to lose 21-19 14-21 11-21 to Lee in a 54-minute clash to bow out of tournament. It was his second successive first-round loss of the season.

Sen was under pressure to perform following his miserable start to the new season which saw him make first-round exits in both the events he had participated so far.

His loss against compatriot Priyanshu Rajawat in the India Open had affected his Olympic qualification hopes as he needs to get inside top 16 by April end to make the cut for Paris Games.

On Wednesday, Sen watched his 7-3 lead evaporate as Weng dominated the proceedings to take a 19-12 advantage at one stage. But, Sen produced a rearguard action to pocket 12 of the next 15 points to leave his opponent behind.

After the change of sides, the battle for the first five points was a hard one before Sen marched to 11-6 at the break.

Weng fought bravely to make it 10-11 but it was all a Sen show after that as the Indian reeled off six straight points and held his fort to emerge victorious.

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