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Prannoy stuns Chong Wei again to reach Denmark Open quarters

By Amit Kumar Das

Odense, Oct 19 (PTI) Indian shuttler H S Prannoy recorded his second successive win over three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei to storm into the quarterfinals of the USD 750,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier here today.

Just four months back, Prannoy had created a flutter when he dispatched Chong Wei in straight games in the Indonesia Super Series Premier and the unseeded Indian dished out another superb performance today to oust the former World No. 1 Malaysian 21-17 11-21 21-19 in a match that lasted an hour and three minutes here.

"I am happy to beat him again today. Even at this age, he is one of the best players, who can play in any conditions. I am not thinking much ahead as I have done this before but couldn't win the title so I will just look at the next match," Prannoy told reporters after the match.

The 25-year-old Indian trailed Chong Wei, who turns 35 on Saturday, 1-2 in career meetings. However, buoyed by his recent win over the Malaysian in June, the Indian produced another sensational performance, befitting his new-found stardom of a giant-killer.

Prannoy started off well as he dictated terms and built up a 10-7 lead but the former World No. 1 leveled par with a lucky net chord before entering the break with a slender lead when the Indian's return missed the sideline.

Chong Wei held on to his lead till 14-13 when Prannoy unleashed a jump smash to draw parity and then went into the lead. But a return going to net meant it was evens-stevens again.

The Indian soon jumped to a 18-15 lead before two quick reflex smashes helped him to narrow the gap. However, Prannoy again unleashed two precise smashes on his rival's forehand to grab three game points and sealed it with another deceptive return which Chong Wei failed to ward off.

The second game begun with both committing unforced errors. Prannoy won a video referral and held a 4-3 lead when Chong Wei hit wide. The Indian then hit the net a few times to allow the Malaysian lead 8-6. With Prannoy struggling with unforced errors, Chong Wei moved into the break with a 11-8 lead.

Chong Wei extended the advantage to 14-8 before Prannoy unleashed two powerful returns to let out a scream. However, the Indian couldn't reign in his errors as Chong Wei eventually managed to take the match to the decider.

The third game saw Chong Wei open up a 5-2 lead but he misjudged shuttles at the baseline twice and Prannoy also sent one at the back of the court on the line to make it 6-8. The Indian kept snapping at his rival's heels to draw parity at 10-10. But a quick reflex net return helped Chong Wei lead 11 -10.

After the interval, Chong Wei grabbed a few points to lead 13-10 but Prannoy managed to turn the tables with eight straight points, leading 18-13. But the Indian made a service error next and Chong Wei produced a body smash to make it 15- 18.

A forehand return from Prannoy going to net further narowed the gap but the Malaysian hit the net next as it was 19-16. Prannoy then went wide thrice on the trot to allow Chong Wei comeback. However, he got his bearings right in time and unleashed a cross court smash to earn the match point and sealed it in the end

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