India Open Badminton: Erratic HS Prannoy Bows Out Of Semifinals




India’s HS Prannoy was completely outplayed by world no. 2 Shi Yu Qi of China as he crashed out of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament after a straight-game loss in the semi-finals on Saturday. The World No. 9 Indian matched his rival in the initial phase but after 14-14 in the opening game, he faded into oblivion as Shi Yu Qi registered a 21-15 21-5 win in what turned out to be a lop-sided contest at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall here. Shi Yu Qi moved with ease across the court and played with patience and precision to outwit Prannoy, who looked sloppy in the second game.

In the opening game, Prannoy opened up a 6-3 lead with two steep returns and after winning a net duel. A backhand going to net and another net error from the Indian brought Shi Yu Qi back at 6-6.

The Chinese played a couple of nice-looking around the head smashes to move to 10-8. Prannoy again clawed back before Shi Yu Qi entered the break with a one-point advantage with another precise smash.

The two engaged in a fierce battle as lead changed hands too frequently, moving together till 14-14.

But the Indian seemed to have lost his focus there after as sprayed his service into the net and then Shi Yuqi produced a net kill and a smash to move to 17-14.

Another smash on his opponent forehand and it was five-game points for the Chinese, who converted it by sending another one away from Prannoy.

After the change of sides, Prannoy just didn’t look in his element as Shi Yu Qi looked by far the better player as his net play was polished and he played some superb drops to open up a 6-3 lead.

The Chinese looked in control as he dictated the rallies and often finished the points unleashing his precise smashes on the flanks.

Prannoy failed to curb his errors as his blocks went to net and lifts long. Soon Shi Yu Qi held a handsome 11-4 advantage at the break.

The Chinese looked patient as he took pace off the rallies using his drops and half smashes, reverse hits and drew errors from his opponent.

Prannoy body language said it all as he couldn’t put any pressure on his fancied opponent. In a jiffy it was 17-5 in the Chinese favour. He took 15 match points and sealed it when the Indian went long again.

“I think the first game was quite posed but I gave 2-3 points in the end. I was not able to move well in the second game. All credit to him, he has some good shots. Happy that could reach semifinals but still a lot work need to be done to go on and win tournaments,” he said.

“It’s better not to analyse too much now. It is a learning lesson. Hope I can do better next time.” In the finals, Shi Yu Qi will face Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, who stunned World Championships silver medallist Kodai Naraoka of Japan 21-13 15-21 21-19 to qualify for his first Super 750 men’s singles final at the India Open.

The World No. 18 Lee had reached the finals at Hylo Open super 300 and Thailand Open super 500 last year.

In women’s singles, China’s Chen Yu Fei overcame compatriot Wang Zhi Yi in straight games to set up a women’s singles final against Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in a rematch of the Tokyo Olympics summit clash here.

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Chen Yu Fei beat Wang Zhi Yi 21-13 21-18 in the semi-finals, while Tai Tzu Ying progressed to her second successive women’s singles final of the season with a 21-13 21-18 win over world no. 20 Yeo Jia Min in the first women’s singles semifinal.

The Chinese shuttlers continued their impressive run with two of their pairs progressing to the finals of mixed and women’s doubles competition in the tournament.

World no. 5 Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin were the first to dazzle as they beat Korea’s Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun 21-19, 21-18 in the mixed doubles semifinals at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall.

The world no. 7 pair of Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu then prevailed over compatriots Li Wen Mei and Liu Xuan Xuan 19-21, 21-17, 21-18 in the women’s doubles semi-finals.

World no. 7 Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand also made it to the summit clash after beating Ye Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin of Chinese Taipei in the second semifinals in mixed doubles category.

Women’s doubles pair of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara of Japan also notched up a 21-13 21-16 win against Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee of Korea to enter the finals.

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