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Lakshya, Dhruv/Arjun crash out in first round

It was a disappointing start for India’s men’s singles and men’s doubles campaign on Day 2 of the Japan Open Super 750 in Osaka as Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen and BWF World Championships quarter-finalist pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, crashed out in the first round itself.

Lakshya, who suffered a tough defeat at the hands of fellow Indian shuttler HS Prannoy in the pre-quarters of the BWF World Championships last week in Tokyo, was not able to make much of an impression against the lower-ranked Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.

Although the World No. 10 made a good start against the local player ranked at World No. 21, the tables soon turned as Lakshya played a very passive game, which is anyway very unexpected from the All England silver medallist. With the match going down to the wire, Lakshya Sen lost 18-21, 21-14, 21-13 in a 66-minute clash.

On the other hand, the in-form men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila faltered against a South Korean pair of Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho in another three-setter, losing 21-19, 21-23, 15-21.

Dhruv and Arjun were sensational at the BWF World Championships and reached the quarterfinals on a hot spree, making them jump nine spots on the BWF ranking list and enter the Top 30 as well, for the first time in their careers. However, the newly-crowned World No. 26 pair had to fight tooth and nail against the World No. 34 duo from Korea in a closely-contested clash, before ultimately losing.

In the mixed doubles, Venkat Prasad and Juhi Dewangan also lost to top-seeds from China, Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See, 21-11, 21-10.

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