Seventh seed Lakshya Sen will face a stern test in the form of World No. 7 Kodai Naraoka in the first round of the Indonesia Masters 2023 in Jakarta on Wednesday, January 25.
Sen’s start to the 2023 season has been underwhelming, to say the least. The Commonwealth Games champion roped in former Olympian Anup Sridhar ahead of a crucial Olympic qualifying year. However, the partnership is yet to take off in what has been a difficult start to the year for the World No. 12.
The 21-year-old drew compatriot HS Prannoy in the first round of both the Malaysia and India Open tournaments in the past couple of weeks. While he fell in three games in the former, Sen was able to exact revenge at home with a commanding performance.
Unfortunately, for the youngster, he failed to build on it any further, crashing out to the-then World No. 20 Rasmus Gemke in three games in the second round.
Lakshya Sen vs Kodai Naraoka: Head-to-head and prediction
The 21-year-old Kodai Naraoka has a 3-1 lead in his head-to-head against Lakshya Sen.
The two have known each other since their junior days. The Indian’s only win over the Japanese came in three gritty games at the Youth Olympics in 2018.
Their most recent meeting ended in a 21-17, 21-12 win in favor of Naraoka at the 2022 Denmark Open in October last year.
It goes without saying that this will be a battle between two of the finest young talents on the tour.
Naraoka has blossomed into one of the players to watch over the past few months. He won the Vietnam Open title last year, besides finishing as the runner-up at the Singapore Open, Korea Masters and the Taipei Open.
Naraoka made a stunning start to the 2023 season, reaching the final at the Super 1000 Malaysia Open earlier this month. He accounted for the likes of India Open champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn and HS Prannoy before going down to World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the summit clash.
However, the young Japanese couldn’t sustain the momentum at the India Open the very next week and was sent packing in the first round itself.
With both players eager to rebound from their early exits in New Delhi, this has all the makings of a thriller. Going by early-season form, Naraoka is the favorite to come through.
However, Sen cannot be counted out. If he can build a rhythm and keep his errors to a minimum, the 2022 All England Open runner-up could fancy his chances of beating his nemesis.
Indonesia Masters, Lakshya Sen vs Kodai Naraoka: Date and time
The seventh-seeded Lakshya Sen and Kodai Naraoka will square off in the men’s singles first round of the Indonesia Masters 2023 on Wednesday.
Date: January 25, 2023
Time: Approx. 11.45 am local time/10.15 am IST
Venue: Istora Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia Masters, Lakshya Sen vs Kodai Naraoka: Where to watch & live streaming details
The tournament will be broadcast live in India on Sports18 1 and Sports18 1 HD channels from Thursday, January 26, 2023. Hence, this match won’t be telecast live on television in India.
Live streaming will be available on YouTube on BWF.TV. Live scores can also be followed on the tournament software.