Having given a good account of himself at his first HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 event, Priyanshu Rajawat‘s face glowed despite defeat.
Although he’d lost the second round of the KAPAL API GROUP Indonesia Open 2023, Rajawat knew he’d measured up well against crowd favourite Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. Next time, he promised, the result would be different.
“It was a very good experience, and a great crowd. It’s overwhelming for me because he was in front of his home crowd and could get more confidence,” said the 21-year-old, winner of the Orleans Masters in April.
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence as I’ve played a good match against the world No.2. I’ve gained some experience as well, on how to approach such a match, in terms of strategy, and I’d like to maintain this. I was fine with his speed; I was quite comfortable as I’m quick myself.”
Rajawat has been talked about in Indian badminton circles for a while now. Although he’s not had as phenomenal a rise as Lakshya Sen – who’s just a few months older – he has started making a mark on the circuit with wins over some big names. Among his victims are Kanta Tsuneyama, Kenta Nishimoto, Alex Lanier and Christo Popov, while he’s taken players like Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, Heo Kwang Hee, Li Shi Feng and HS Prannoy to three games.
Rajawat was part of the Thomas Cup-winning team (he won his sole match, against Victor Lai of Canada), but the result that catapulted him to recognition back home was his Orleans Masters victory, where he beat Nishimoto in the second round, Nhat Nguyen in the semifinals and Magnus Johannesen in the final.
Ginting himself was impressed by what he’d seen.
“It was a tough match,” said the eventual runner-up at the tournament. “Maybe because it’s our first meeting. I only saw him (earlier) on YouTube. I was unsure of the strategy against him. I was leading in the first game, and he changed the way he played, so I don’t know what I happened, and I tried to get back.
“I tried to push him as much as I can and play as aggressively as possible, but without rushing, because he has a good defence as well. It isn’t easy to get points against him.
“He’s one to watch, not just in the future, but right now.”