New Zealand badminton open: Prannoy, Kashyap, Ajay in fray

Newly-crowned US Open champion H S Prannoy will look to continue his good run when he begins his campaign in the men’s singles competition at the $120,000 New Zealand Grand Prix Gold starting here tomorrow.

Battling with injuries throughout his career, Prannoy strung six match days together to snap a long title drought that lasted a year and four months. He had won the Swiss Open last year in March.

“Feels great to win this one. Now I am looking forward to New Zealand Open,” Prannoy had said after the epic final against compatriot Parupalli Kashyap, who reached his first final after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Prannoy, who climbed to 17th spot in the world rankings after the win, will face Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the opening round here.

Kashyap, who had to endure a long injury lay—off since limping off the court in October, 2015, also will look to continue his good work after reaching the finals at US in more than two years.

The Commonwealth Games champion, who gained 12 places to be at the 47th spot, will face Indonesia’s Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka.

Ajay Jayaram, who will be competing at the World Championship next month, would be looking to boost his confidence with a solid performance when he opens his campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hung Lu.

Former National champion Sourabh Verma, who clinched the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold last year, will be up against Australia’s Nathan Tang at the North Shore Events Centre.

Young Siril Verma, seeded 16th, will face Indonesia’s Riyanto Subagja, while Pratul Joshi will fight it out against local player Daxxon Vong.

Among others in fray in men’s singles, Arun Kumar Ashok Kumar will take on Indonesia’s Saputra Vicky Angga, Siddharath Thakur will meet Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, Sahil Sipani will square off against a qualifier, Sachin Rawat will lock horns with Malaysia’s Giap Chin Goh and Neeraj Vashist will play Indonesia’s Androw Yunanto.

In the women’s singles, Tanvi Lad,…

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