Shuttler Sai Praneeth qualifies for main draw in Japan
Tokyo:India`s B. Sai Praneeth qualified for the main draw of the men`s singles at the Japan Open Superseries here Tuesday.
The 20-year-old won both his qualification rounds to enter the first round of the main draw where he will be facing Malaysia`s Daren Liew Wednesday.
He beat Andrew Smith of England 21-15, 18-21, 21-19 in 45 minutes in the first round and Japanese Riichi Takeshita 21-14, 21-15 in half an hour in the second round.
Wednesday will see first round action of the main draws across all categories.
P.V. Sindhu will be leading the Indian challenge in the women`s singles, being the sole representative in the section, as London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal would not be participating.
Sindhu, who reached the semi-finals of the China Masters Superseries last week, will be up against local girl Kaori Imabeppu in the first round.
In the men`s singles, Olympics quarterfinalist Parupalli Kashyap will be up against 2004 Athens Games gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia. The former World No.1 has won all five of their previous meetings, the last one coming at India Open Superseries in 2011.
China Masters Superseries semi-finalist Ajay Jayaram will be facing Singaporean Zi Liang Derek Wong, whom the Indian defeated in the second round of the previous tournament.
Mumbai`s Ajay Pawar faces a huge task of facing top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. The World No.2 has a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over the Indian.
World No.55 RMV Gurusaidutt will be taking on Japanese fourth seed Sho Sasaki. The World No.7 had beaten the Indian the only time they met in the past in the India Open Grand Prix Gold in 2008.
In the men`s doubles category, Thane`s Akshay Dewalkar and Pranav Chopra will face Malaysian eighth seeds Thien How Hoon and Wee Kiong Tan for a place in the second round.
Keralaite pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu will take on fifth seeds Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato.
In mixed doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa will be up against local unseeded pairing of Noriyasu Hirata and Miyuki Maeda
Interestingly, Chinese shuttlers, who dominate the sport, are not participating in men`s singles, women`s singles and men`s doubles.