World No. 41 Daren, however, had to dig deep to beat Prannoy 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 in a 68-minute first round men’s singles match at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok yesterday.
Prior to the meeting yesterday, the 32-year-old has lost all three meetings against world No. 27 Prannoy at the Malaysian Grand Prix Gold (2012), Indonesian Masters (2014) and China Masters (2016). Daren takes on second seed Shi Yuqi of China next.
“It was a really close match but I was more focused in the end. I should have really won it in two games,” said the independent shuttler.
“Against Yuqi next, I think, he has not reached his best yet. I stand a chance as long as I can play at my own level.”
National No. 1 Lee Zii Jia also made it to the second round after he blew away another Indian Sameer Verma 21-16, 21-15 in just 38 minutes to set up a match against South Korea’s Heo Kwang-hee.
Cheam June Wei failed to join his compatriots after losing to Japan’s world No. 16 Kenta Nishimoto 21-17, 17-21, 14-21 in 66 minutes.
June Wei started brightly to snatch the first game but ran out of steam after losing the second game, missing a golden opportunity to cause an upset over his higher ranked opponent.
Meanwhile, it was a day of mixed fortunes for the women’s singles when Soniia Cheah cleared the first round but Goh Jin Wei crashed out.
Soniia defeated Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-14, 21-18 and faces French shuttler Qi Xuefei for a place in the quarter-finals.
Jin Wei, who is playing in her first tournament in six months, was no match for top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan as she fell 12-21, 8-21.
Her lack of competitive action was evident as the Japanese showed no mercy to record the lopsided scoreline in only 26 minutes.
It was a good day for Malaysia in the mixed doubles when Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing reached the second round.
Soon Huat-Shevon face Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich while Kian Meng-Pei Jing are set to play Indonesian qualifiers Dejan Ferdinansyah-Serena Kani.
Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia bt Sameer Verma (Ind) 21-16, 21-15; Liew Daren bt H.S. Prannoy (Ind) 21-17, 20-22, 21-19; Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) bt Cheam June Wei 21-17, 17-21, 14-21.
Men’s doubles: Huang Kaixiang-Liu Cheng (Chn) bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 21-16, 21-12.
Women’s singles: Soniia Cheah bt Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) 21-14, 21-18; Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Goh Jin Wei 21-12, 21-8.
Women’s doubles: Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean 21-14, 20-22, 22-20.
Mixed doubles: Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing bt Mathias Bay Smidt-Rikke Soby (Den) 21-19, 21-17; Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie bt Yang Po-hsuan-Hu Ling-fang (Tpe) 17-21, 21-9, 21-12.
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