India’s Kiran George produced a gritty show, notching up two narrow wins in the men’s singles qualifying round to make it to the main draw of the Indonesia Masters Super 500 badminton tournament here on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old from Kochi, who has so far won two Super 100 titles at the 2022 Odisha Open and 2023 Denmark Masters, showed great resolve as he eked out a 21-17, 12-21, 21-15 win over Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito before defeating France’s Alex Lanier 12-21, 21-18, 22-20 in the qualifying round matches.
Against Rhustavito, Kiran took time to get off the groove as he recovered from a 0-3 deficit to keep pace with his rival. He then took six straight points from 13-12 to pocket the first game.
Rhustavito came back strongly, jumping to a 10-2 lead and kept his nose ahead to take the match to the decider.
The Indian, however, regrouped and from 8-7, he reeled off five points on the trot to leave his opponent behind.
In the second match of the day, Kiran slipped to a 0-7 deficit and conceded the opening game but he managed to take an 8-5 lead in the second. Despite some tough fight from the opponent, Kiran claimed the second game to keep himself afloat.
The third game was a tough battle as the lead exchanged frequently and Kiran took an 11-9 cushion at the interval. The Indian was trailing at 14-15 lead but quickly recovered to 19-16 before sealing the match. In the main draw, HS Prannoy, the only seeded Indian player at No. 7, will begin his campaign against former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, while Lakshya Sen will be up against Weng Hong Yang of China.
World No. 25 Kidambi Srikanth will face Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, while 30th-ranked Priyanshu Rajawat will meet Rasmus Gemke of Denmark.
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