Indonesia Open Badminton: Double delight for India as HS Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi enter semis
While the superstar women shuttlers of India disappointed at the ongoing BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier in Jakarta, the men continue to soar high. HS Prannoy, the perennial underachiever, is finally playing to his potential at this event as he put up yet another terrific performance to stun the reigning Olympic and world champion Chen Long, 21-18, 16-21, 21-19 on his way to the semi-finals on Friday.
Srikanth Kidambi too joined him in the last-four stage with a strong 21-15, 21-14 win over the World No. 19 Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei. The former World No. 3 continues his resurgence that began at the Singapore Open where he reached the final.
But the day undoubtedly belonged to the Kerala shuttler Prannoy. Endowed with a brilliant attacking game, he always had the talent to beat the best on the grandest stage. Somehow inconsistency had always been his Achilles Heel.
The 24-year-old is making up for all his lost opportunities at the Indonesia Open. A day after toppling the top seed and Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei, the Pullela Gopichand protégé held his nerves for the thrilling three-game victory.
With the Chinese star being error-prone in the initial stages, Prannoy took his chances very well and built an 11-7 lead. His smashes working like a dream and attack being pitch-perfect, the Indian was able to close out the first game despite some stiff resistance from Chen Long towards the end.
Prannoy briefly led the second game too at 6-4 but the world champion soon asserted himself. Prannoy’s brutal attack vs Chen Long’s solid defence made it a highly competitive affair. He was in the hunt till 16-16 after which the eighth seed accelerated to wrap up the second game.
Chen Long began the decider with a lot of confidence and was soon ahead at 4-1. A determined Prannoy came storming back to even the scoreline at 7-7.
It remained on level terms till 12-12 following which Prannoy found an extra gear to inch his way forward. Even though Chen Long still managed to make it 17-17, the Indian held on for the victory in 1 hour 15 minutes.
He next faces the winner of Rajiv Ouseph and Kazumasa Sakai. Srikanth Kidambi, however, has a tough opponent up next as he takes on the second seed Son Wan Ho.