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Prannoy stuns Lin Dan; Sai Praneeth eases into World Championships pre-quarters

By Pti
Indias HS Prannoy upset Chinas Lin Dan

Basel, August 21: India's HS Prannoy stunned two-time Olympics gold medallist and five-time world champion Lin Dan in a hard-fought match to enter the pre-quarterfinals of badminton's World Championships.

The unseeded Indian beat the highly-decorated Chinese, seeded 11th in the showpiece tournament, 21-11 13-21 21-7 in a second-round match that lasted one hour and two minutes.

In the pre-quarterfinals, Prannoy will meet top seed Kento Momota of Japan who beat Luis Enrique Penalver of Spain 21-10 21-7.

Lin Dan, who turns 36 in October, won his first world title way back in 2006 and is not far from the end of his celebrated career. But Prannoy deserves credit for defeating the Chinese superstar for the third time to now enjoy a 3-2 career record against him.

Prannoy completely dominated the first game and led all the way after 2-2. The Indian was ahead at 10-5 and then raced to 19-11 before pocketing it.

In five meetings between the two, Prannoy has emerged victorious thrice. The Chinese won in the last meeting, at the Australian Open in June.

Lin, who had also won gold in the 2008 Olympics, apart from seven World Championships titles, roared back in the second game. They were tied 5-5 but from there on, the Chinese legend did not give any chance to Prannoy as he easily won the second game to take the match to the decider.

Prannoy, however, was not going to be intimidated by the reputation of the former world number one. The Indian reserved the best for the last and just like the first game, Prannoy left Lin far behind after 4-4 and won the deciding game easily to wrap up the match.

"I started and ended well but the strategy in the second game went completely opposite for me. Thanks to coaches I could make a few changes in crucial moments. I am happy I was patient and was ready for a long match. Shuttles were not very fast but I am happy with my game," Prannoy said.

On playing World No 1 Momota next, Prannoy said: "Well, the draw was looking tough from the start. Yes I am looking forward to Momota because there are things which I need to prove. I think this is the event where I need to, I know that I am a big tournament player, hope tomorrow is a good day."

Later on Tuesday (August 20), 16th seed Sai Praneeth completed a comprehensive 21-16, 21-15 win over Dong Keun of South Korea in the second round.

In the women's doubles, the Indian pair of Ashwini Ponappa N Sikki Reddy got a walkover from Chinese Taipei's Chang Ching Hui and Yang Ching Tun in their opening match. They will face seventh seeded Chinese pair of Du Yue and LI Yin Hui in the second round.

The men's doubles pairing of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy beat the French duo of Thom Gicquel and Ronan Labar 21-13, 21-13 in a first round match.

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Story first published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 8:13 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 21, 2019