Indian badminton star HS Prannoy marked his return from back injury with a valiant victory in the opening round of the Japan Masters 2023 in Kumamoto on Wednesday, however became the only Indian to remain in the Super 500 event.
Taking on Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, the 31-year-old Prannoy made a stellar start to the match, taking a 11-6 lead at the interval. Lee did manage to catch up at 14-14, but the Indian shuttler managed to secure the opener by a close margin.
Although he once again took the lead in the second game and went ahead 14-8, the Hong Kong star caught up to Prannoy once again at 17-17 and from there on, evened the odds by taking the game, with back to back errors from Prannoy.
The third game had Lee leading 8-5 but Prannoy eventually turned the flow at 13-11, continuing to hold onto his lead and finished by taking the decider, marking a 22-20 19-21 21-17 win within 64 minutes to enter into the second round.
However, things were not so bright in the rest of the Indian contingent as both Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu Rajawat both bowed out of the tournament after suffering losses in the first round.
Sen, who had won Canada Open this year, went down against Japanese shuttler Kodai Naraoka, losing 17-21 10-21. Priyanshu, the Orleans Master winner, lost 15-21 12-21 to Lin Chun-Yi of Taiwan.