B.S. Praneeth of Hyderabad Hunters in action against K.Srikanth of Awadhe Warriors during a Premier Badminton League match in Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium of Chennai on Jan 7. (IANS file photo)

SYDNEY — India's B. Sai Praneeth defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel in straight games in the opening round of the Australian Open badminton tournament here May 9.

The second-seeded Indian needed only 45 minutes to chalk out a 21-17, 21-14 verdict over his unseeded opponent.

Praneeth will meet Maulana Panji Ahmad of Indonesia in the next round on May 10.

Ahmad defeated Indian youngster Rahul Yadav Chittaboina 21-11, 21-17 in his campaign opener.

Praneeth was the only bright spot for India in the men's singles category as the other Indians in the fray lost their matches.

Praneeth faced resistance from his opponent in the early stages of the first game before opening up a five-point lead at 8-3.

The Israeli fought back to gradually reduce the gap to 14-16. But the Indian won four points on the trot to snatch away the momentum before closing out the game.

The second game also saw a tough contest in the opening stages before the Indian —- who was consistent with his accurate placements and clever net play — started to enjoy the upper hand.

Just like the opening game, Misha once again reduced the gap to 14-16 before Praneeth won five consecutive points to win the game and the match.

Sameer Verma on the other hand, endured a tough day in office. He lost his first game before rallying to beat New Zealand's Abhinav Manota 13-21, 21-9, 21-7 in 42 minutes.

Later in the day, he lost a hard fought three-game battle against Takuma Ueda of Japan to crash out of the competition.

Verma had taken the early advantage by winning the opening game. But Ueda dominated the next two games to script a 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 victory in an hour long contest.

Ajay Jayaram meanwhile, gave a tough fight before going down 22-20, 20-22, 17-21 to Riichi Takeshita of Japan in an hour and 12 minutes.

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