In a disappointing turn of events at the China Masters 2023 badminton tournament in Shenzhen, Indian shuttlers faced early exits in the men’s singles and women’s doubles categories on Day 2. Star players Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, and Priyanshu Rajawat, along with women’s doubles pair Rutuparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda, succumbed to defeats in their respective matches.
Lakshya Sen, the young sensation of Indian badminton, faced a tough battle against China’s Shi Yu Qi, ultimately losing a closely contested match that lasted for an hour. The final scoreline read 21-19, 21-18 in favor of the Chinese shuttler. Interestingly, Sen had previously defeated Qi in the men’s team gold medal match at the Asian Games 2023, making this loss a surprising turn of events.
Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth displayed resilience in his match against reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand. After dropping the first game, Srikanth staged a comeback in the second with impeccable net play and powerful smashes, leveling the match at 1-1. However, Vitidsarn maintained control in the final game, securing a 15-21, 21-14, 15-21 victory in a 62-minute battle.
Priyanshu Rajawat, another hopeful in the men’s singles category, faced a 17-21, 14-21 defeat at the hands of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, ending his campaign at the China Masters 2023.
In the women’s doubles segment, Rutuparna Panda and Swetaparna Panda faced a challenging opponent in the third-seeded Chinese pair of Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu. Unfortunately, the Indian duo couldn’t find their rhythm and succumbed to a 15-21, 9-21 loss in just over half an hour.
With these losses, India’s representation in the singles categories at the China Masters has diminished early in the tournament. However, hope still remains in the form of HS Prannoy and the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who are the sole Indians remaining in contention.
The early exits highlight the competitive nature of international badminton tournaments, where the margin for error is slim, and every match demands peak performance. Despite the setbacks, the remaining Indian contingent will look to regroup and make a stronger impact in the upcoming rounds.
As the China Masters 2023 progresses, badminton enthusiasts anticipate thrilling encounters and hope for a resurgence from the Indian contingent. With Prannoy and the men’s doubles pair still in the mix, Indian fans will be keenly watching their performances in the subsequent matches, hoping for a turnaround in fortunes at this prestigious badminton event.