Indian badminton player HS Prannoy stunned reigning Olympic champion Lin Dan of China to enter the second round of the $275,000 French Open Super Series in Paris on Wednesday, while Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap also cleared the opening hurdle.
Unseeded Prannoy rallied from a set down to beat his formidable third-seeded rival 14-21, 21-11 ,21-17 in a first-round match that lasted one hour and 11 minutes at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
Top seed Nehwal tamed World No. 14 Michelle Li of Canada 21-18, 21-13 in a 42-minute encounter, while eighth seed and Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap saw off local shuttler Thomas Rouxel 21-11, 22-20.
The Indian women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also advanced to the second round after defeating Thailand duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-15, 21-12.
However, it was curtains for World No. 5 Kidambi Srikanth as he went down fighting to Tian Houwei 15-21, 21-13, 11-21 in a 63-minute match. This is Srikanth’s fourth loss to the World No. 10 Chinese this season.
Prannoy lost the opening set tamely as the veteran former world number one Lin gave him little chance after the two were tied at 7-7. Lin raced ahead to take the set 21-14 in quick time.
But the Indian made a remarkable fightback in the second and suddenly, Lin was struggling to make a match with Prannoy, who led all through after the score was tied at 2-2.
In the decider, Prannoy nosed ahead initially but Lin made a fightback to level the score to 14-14 and 15-15. From then on, however, Prannoy stepped on the gas and made his final flourish to take the deciding set 21-17 and win the match.