India's challenge at the USD 200,000 Japan Open Super Series badminton event ended on Friday as all the men shuttlers - H.S. Prannoy, K. Srikanth and Ajay Jayaram - bowed out in the quarter-finals. (In image: HS Prannoy)
21-year-old Prannoy, ranked 56 in the world, was up first against China's Huan Gao, ranked 32. It was an intense battle that lasted an hour and 13 minutes before the Indian youngster was knocked out.
The Chinese won the first game easily 21-11 but Prannoy came back strongly in the second to take the game 22-20 and with it levelled the match. In the decider though, the Indian came out second best to lose the game 13-21.
A lot of Indian hopes were then pinned upon 20-year-old K. Srikanth, who impressed in the recently concluded Indian Badminton League. The fast rising world no. 39, who won the Thailand Open earlier this year, though, could not match up to local favourite Kenichi Tago.
Srikanth went out in straight games 18-21, 9-21.
With two Indian challengers out, the most experienced of the three, 25-year-old Ajay Jayaram came out to battle world no. 8 Tien Minh Nguyen and began in scintillating fashion.
He led the first game for most parts before fading off towards the fag end to gift it to the Vietnamese player 21-18. The world no. 30 Indian then never managed to claw back and lost the second game 13-21.
Earlier on Thursday, world championship bronze medallist and ranked No. 12, India's PV Sindhu was handed a surprise second round defeat by Japanese qualifier Akane Yamaguchi. The eighth-seed Sindhu lost 6-21 17-21 to the little-known local player in a 32-minute long women's singles match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.