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Praneeth's and India's New Zealand Open challenge ends

B Sai Praneeth

Bengaluru, May 5: India's B Sai Praneeth went down fighting 21-14, 19-21, 8-21 to second seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the men's singles semifinals of the New Zealand Open Badminton Championship in Auckland.

The Indian, who was seeded third for this tournament, won the first game comfortably and was leading the second game for a while.

But Christie fought back, eventually winning two straight points when the score was tied at 19-19 to win the second game and force the match into a deciding third game.

Praneeth struggled to compete against his Indonesian rival in the third game, as Christie dominated the one-hour contest to enter the final.

Earlier, Praneeth hardly broke a sweat as he took just 28 minutes to quell the challenge of Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne 21-7 21-9 in the quarterfinals.

However, Christie proved too good for the 25-year-old in the semifinal.

With Praneeth's defeat, India's challenge in the $150,000 prize-money tournament ended.

Fifth seed and Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma had lost to China's Lin Dan 19-21, 19-21 in the quarterfinal.

Earlier, teenage sensation Lakshya Sen had given the legendary Lin a scare before going down 21-15, 15-21, 12-21 in the pre-quarterfinals.

In doubles, fifth seeded Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy crashed out in the quarterfinals.
Fourth seeds Bodin Isara and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet of Thailand defeated the Indian duo 21-10, 21-15.

With India's biggest shuttlers having taken a break, the tournament gave the second-best a chance to impress at the global level.

In the men's main draw of 32, as many as seven Indian shuttlers were in the fray.

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    Story first published: Saturday, May 5, 2018, 15:26 [IST]
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