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World Badminton Championships 2018: Sai Praneeth gets walkover into second round as Son Wan Ho pulls out

1.42K   //    30 Jul 2018, 21:48 IST

Badminton Malaysia Open - Day 2
Sai Praneeth

What’s the story?

Indian shuttler B. Sai Praneeth got a walkover into the second round of the World Badminton Championships 2018 as his first round opponent, Son Wan Ho pulled out of the mega event in Nanjing, China.

The Korean, a former World No. 1, was seeded fourth at this prestigious badminton event and was looking to clinch another medal to add to the bronze that he won last year. However, a leg injury dashed those hopes and forced him out of the tournament to join the second seed Lee Chong Wei as the second big star to withdraw from the World Championships.

In case you didn’t know

Fresh from winning the Singapore Open Superseries, Sai Praneeth had an impressive debut at the World Championships last year. He won a couple of rounds before bowing out to Chou Tien Chen in three games in the Round of 16.

The heart of the matter

Son Wan Ho reportedly injured his leg during training ahead of the World Championships and it left him with not enough time to recover and get fit for the tournament. Hence, he had to call it quits.

Both Lee Chong Wei and Son Wan Ho were in the bottom half of the draw and their absence definitely makes that part of the draw wide open. Asian champion Kento Momota and the India No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth are expected to make the most of it.

As for the inconsistent Sai, what looked like a tough opening hurdle has now presented him with a golden chance to make it to the quarter-finals for a potential meeting with Momota. But before that, he has to take care of the 15th seeded Tommy Sugiarto.

What’s next?

Sai Praneeth will now begin his campaign against Spain’s World No. 115 Luis Enrique Penalver in the second round. Incidentally, the Spaniard too benefitted from another withdrawal as Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai pulled out of the event.

Do you think this slice of luck will help Sai Praneeth make an impression at the World Championships? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.