US Open Badminton: Preview and schedule of HS Prannoy vs Parupalli Kashyap final
Competition: $120,000 Yonex US Open Grand Prix Gold 2017
Venue: Anaheim, California, USA
Category: Grand Prix Gold
Round: Men’s Singles Final
Date: Sunday, July 23, 2017
Time: Around 2.15am IST (Monday, July, 24, 2017)
Telecast: Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2
(2) HS Prannoy (WR #23) vs Parupalli Kashyap (WR #59)
Head-to-head: They are tied 1-1
Last meeting: Prannoy beat Kashyap 21-19, 21-18 at the 2014 German Open first round.
The last time that HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap locked horns in any competitive match on the badminton court, it turned out to be a harrowing experience for the senior countryman. The Commonwealth Games champion dived onto the forecourt to retrieve one of Prannoy’s shots only to hurt his shoulder during the 2017 Premier Badminton League (PBL2) Final in January.
It resulted in his shoulder dislocation and yet another injury spell for the former World No. 6, whose career has already been ravaged by quite a few such injuries in the last couple of years.
Just when he was looking forward to putting all those miseries behind him and start the new season with a lot of positivity, he got pushed to the sidelines for another three months.
It had been a hard time for the 30-year-old, whose last final was at the 2015 Syed Modi International 30 months ago, which he won.
But never one to give up, Kashyap has come back every time to make an impact on the BWF Tour. Probably that is why, if he wins against Prannoy tonight, it would be as much a fitting closure to his latest injury episode as it would be a reward for his resilience.
For the 25-year-old Prannoy, the higher-ranked of the two, this is a final of opportunity. Always the one who has flattered to deceive, he can silence his detractors with this title. Endowed with a brutal attacking game, he has not really been able to translate that into a title-winning spree like his compatriots - Srikanth Kidambi and B Sai Praneeth - have done.
His brilliant start to the year, when he remained unbeaten during the second season of the PBL, raised hopes that this could finally be his year. However, injuries and inconsistency reared their ugly head again, denying the Kerala shuttler from becoming what he could be.
Again when he dazzled at the Indonesia Open Superseries in June, accounting for Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long en route to the semi-finals, he made everybody sit up and take notice of his potential. Again Prannoy failed to capitalise on his chances despite being presented with as many as five match points.
He is definitely capable of achieving more than just the two Grand Prix Gold titles that show on his resume currently.
In this final of two contrasting styles, Prannoy should have the upper hand if his aggressive game really comes alive. But Kashyap is a master of absorbing the power and redirecting the shuttle.
Agility is one of Kashyap’s forte and if he settles into a nice rhythm, he can efficiently extract errors from his younger compatriot, just like how he snatched a game from Prannoy during the PBL 2 final before injury struck him.
And for that, Prannoy needs to be on the alert right from the start if he wants to win this.