Two years after winning the Singapore Open and the Thailand Open and suffering a subsequent slump after that, Sai Praneeth has come back to form and how! The 26-year-old has so far been the standout Indian men's singles player in what has been a disappointing season overall for Indian badminton.
From finishing as the runner-up at the Swiss Open to being the only Indian to reach the semi-finals of the Japan Open, Sai has turned over a new leaf. He is playing with a purpose and is very much a man on a mission with a Tokyo Olympics berth at stake.
This week at the BWF World Championships going on in Basel, Switzerland, Sai has been a revelation. He has toppled the World No. 4 Jonatan Christie and World No. 8 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to confirm India's first men's singles medal in 36 years.
Up next is, however, a steep challenge in the form of top seed and World No. 1 Kento Momota. The Japanese has been in devastating form and has won each of his four matches so far with consummate ease. The two locked horns twice this year and both times Momota emerged victoriously.
While Sai managed to snatch a game off him before losing in a gruelling three-game match at the Singapore Open, Momota did not allow that to happen at the Japan Open in their most recent face-off.
Going by Momota's form and his confidence, he is the unanimous favourite in this duel although Sai does have the capability to make life tough for the numero uno player through his graceful movement and fabulous placement of the shuttle.
Here is all you need to know about the BWF World Championships 2019
Tournament: Total BWF World Championships 2019
Category: Grade 1 - Individual tournament
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Date: 24th August, 2019
Schedule: (16) Sai Praneeth vs (1) Kento Momota at approx 4:30 pm IST
Head-to-head: Momota leads 3-2
Last meeting: Momota def Sai 21-18, 21-12 at the 2018 Japan Open
Where to watch the matches in India?
The matches will be live telecast on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports Select 2 and Star Sports Select 2 HD.
Live Stream Details and Info for the matches
Live Stream for the matches is available on hotstar.com