Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal

Paris: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap stunned World No. 4 Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-11, 21-18 in the first round of men’s singles, while Saina Nehwal registered an easy victory to enter the second round of women’s singles in the French Open.

However, it was curtains for HS Prannoy and Sourabh Varma, both of whom failed to cross the opening-round hurdle in men’s singles event, after going down to Japan’s Kento Momota and England’s Rajiv Ouseph, respectively.

Kashyap was at his dominating best today as he comprehensively defeated his higher ranked opponent in straight games in a contest that lasted 34 minutes.

Kashyap grabbed an early 5-1 lead, and quickly surged ahead to 8-2. The Indian then banked on his cross-court smashes to keep on increasing the gap.

At one stage, Kashyap was sitting comfortably at 19-7 and eventually snatched the game 21-11, even as the Japanese failed to get going.

In the second game also Kashyap continued with his fine performance as he opened up a 5-1 lead before the Japanese used all his experience to put up a tough fight. Tago managed to equalise at 7-7 but the Indian once again made it 10-7 in his favour. The two fought for every point and got even at 12-12 once more.

The Japanese shuttler then took the lead for the first time in the match as he moved up to 15-12. Kashyap, however, showed a lot of determination and fought back to make it 17-17.

At 18-18, the Indian bagged three consecutive points to wrap up the game 21-18 and advance to the second round of the competition.

In round two, Kashyap will take on China’s Houwei Tian. Fifth seeded Saina, meanwhile, took just 37 minutes to outplay local shuttler Sashina Vignes Wara 21-16, 21-9.

It was a cake-walk for the London Olympic bronze medallist who faced little threat from her French opponent.

Although the French girl took an early lead of 5-2 in the opening game, Saina quickly came into her elements. And once Saina managed to break away from a 7-7 tie, it was an easy ride for her.

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