BWF World Championships: HS Prannoy to play Lin Dan in second round
India had a good start to Day 1 of the 2019 BWF World Championships, with most of the contenders coming up with wins in the first round. Among the winning players was former World No. 8 HS Prannoy, who got the better of Finland's Eetu Heino in a three-game match.
Up next for Prannoy will be five-time former world champion Lin Dan, who himself overcame a three-game battle against Vietnam's Tien Minh Nguyen. While on paper, Lin Dan will be an absolute favourite to win this one, the reality might be a little different.
Prannoy's current world ranking of 30 does not present a true picture of his abilities as a player. Injury concerns and a dip in form have contributed to that, but that does not take away anything from the fact that Prannoy is fully capable of playing a big game on his given day.
This might surprise a few, but Prannoy has a 2-2 record against the Chinese great. While he did lose to Lin in their only meeting this year, he has beaten his opponent in their two meetings before that.
Lin Dan, for one, will be looking to go deep into the tournament and think of himself as a contender for the title. He has had a mixed year in 2019 so far, but will be drawing confidence from his rich legacy at the World Championships.
Prannoy, on the other hand, has little going for him at this point. He has a poor record in the Championships, having failed to make it to the semi-finals in all his previous attempts. He has also won just 10 of his 22 matches in 2019 and has had a hard time stringing two wins together.
And yet, going back to the previous point, Prannoy is capable of playing a big game. It is very much clear from his record against the all-time Chinese great and his own personal results on tour over the years. And what better place to do it than the World Championships, against one of the game's great?
It is a difficult ask and a lot will also depend on how good Dan is playing tomorrow. This match, which is hugely important for both the players, could very well go down to the wire.