World championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen and fast-rising Malvika Bansod progressed to the second round of the men’s and women’s singles competitions respectively after registering gruelling three-game wins at the Korea Open Super 500 badminton tournament here on Tuesday. While Sen staved off a spirited challenge from local hope Choi Ji Hoon 14-21 21-16 21-18 in just over an hour in his opening round match, Bansod rallied her way to notch up a stunning 20-22 22-20 21-10 win over world no 24 Han Yue of China.
Sixth seed Sen, who has been in sensational form in the last six months with back-to-back final finishes at German Open and All England Championships, will next meet Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.
Unseeded Bansod, who had reached the finals of Syed Modi Super 300 tournament in January, will face sixth seeded Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong in the second round.
However, it was curtains for Swiss Open finalist HS Prannoy as he went down meekly to Malaysia’s Cheam June Wei 17-21 7-21 in 41 minutes.
In doubles, men’s pairing of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost 14-21 19-21 to Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan of Indonesia, while Bokka Navaneeth and B Sumeeth Reddy went down 14-21 19-21 to sixth seeded Malaysian pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
Earlier, Sen found the going tough against Choi, who kept things under control for most part of the opening game and even though the Indian clawed back to 14-14, the Korean reeled off seven points on the trot to take a 1-0 lead.
The 20-year-old from Almora, however, got his bearing back in the second game as he opened up a 11-7 lead at the interval and kept his nose ahead to take the match into the decider.
In the third game, Choi took a 8-3 lead early on but Sen made his way to make it 16-13 in his favour and stayed ahead in the crucial moments to shut out the match.
Bansod had enjoyed the lead for better portion of the opening game and also held four game points but she squandered it as Han earned the bragging rights. After the change of sides, Bansod once again dominated the proceedings with a 11-4 advantage at the break and went to pocket three game points this time but Han once again caught up. However, the Indian didn’t let it slip this time to take the contest to the decider.
In the third game, Bansod was more alert as she broke at 7-7 and then went on to score nine straight points to comfortably close out the match.
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