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Swiss Open 2019: Sai Praneeth upsets Chen Long to enter final

Shruti Sinha
386   //    17 Mar 2019, 17:02 IST

Sai Praneeth
Sai Praneeth

Former Singapore Open champion B. Sai Praneeth put up a brilliant performance to knock out the reigning Olympic champion Chen Long in the semi-finals of the $150,000 Yonex Swiss Open 2019 at Basel, Switzerland on Saturday. Sai needed 46 minutes to turn the tables on the second seed and former World No. 1, securing a 21-18, 21-13 win.

This is the first final on the BWF circuit for the 26-year-old since triumphing at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold in June of 2017.

The World No. 22 will next take on the top seed and reigning BWF World Tour Finals champion Shi Yuqi. The World No. 2 beat the fourth-seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-9, 21-17 in the other semi-final.

Sai trails the former All England Open winner 0-1 in their head-to-head encounters till date. The Chinese prevailed over him in three games at the Thomas Cup in 2018.

The win over Chen Long was Sai's first ever win over the two-time world champion in three showdowns. This was the second meeting between Sai and Chen Long this year after the latter beat him in the first round of the Indonesia Masters in January.

Sai has been in impressive form for a couple of weeks. After winning a round at the All England Open last week, he rode that momentum to stun the eighth seed and defending champion Sameer Verma in the second round of the Swiss Open this week.

His performance at the All England Open pushed him up by four spots to 22 in the latest world rankings and he is expected to rise even further next week.

Lakshya Sen goes down fighting

Meanwhile, at the ongoing Lingshui China Masters 2019, Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen's brave run came to an end in the semi-finals. The 17-year-old went down 9-21, 21-12, 17-21 to World No. 258 Weng Hongyang in a gritty 62-minute battle.