US Open Badminton: HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap set up all-Indian final
Indian badminton fans woke up to the delightful news of an all-Indian final at the $120,000 Yonex US Open Grand Prix Gold as both HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap won their respective semi-finals in Anaheim, California on Saturday. The second seeded Prannoy staved off a late challenge from the 15th seed Tien Minh Nguyen for a 21-14, 21-19 win in 40 minutes.
The Commonwealth Games champion Kashyap, in contrast, had a tougher journey to the final. The 30-year-old came back from a game down to secure a gritty 15-21, 21-15, 21-16 victory over fellow unseeded Kwang Hee Heo of Korea in a 1 hour and six-minute battle.
But curtains came down on the campaign of the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy. The third seeds fought bravely only to be edged by the top seeded pair of Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han, 12-21, 21-12, 20-22 in 54 minutes.
Third all-India final in men’s singles
This is the third time this year an all-Indian men’s singles final has been set up at a Grand Prix Gold level tournament or higher, truly underlining India’s rise into a superpower. The 2017 season began with B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma vying for the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold title in January which the latter won.
In April, Sai Praneeth was involved in yet another all-Indian summit clash - this time with Srikanth Kidambi at the Singapore Open Superseries. The former made amends by coming back from a game down to be crowned the champion.
Kashyap and Prannoy share one win apiece
The 23rd ranked Prannoy and the 59th ranked Kashyap are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head record with the higher-ranked player winning their last showdown at the German Open in 2014.
For both, this is their first final of the 2017 season. Prannoy had missed out on a great opportunity at the Indonesia Open Superseries where he succumbed to a narrow defeat in the semi-finals, despite having held five match points.
Kashyap, meanwhile, will get to compete in a final after a long gap of 30 months, most of which was injury-ridden. The former World No. 6 resumed competitive play only in April after recovering from a shoulder injury and this performance will surely boost his confidence by miles.