Indian shuttler HS Prannoy defeated former World champion Loh Kean Yew in straight sets 22-20, 21-19 and booked his place in quarterfinals of the Japan Open on Thursday (September 1).
In a 44-minute match, Prannoy dealt with quite a few pressure moments but digged deep and came out strong in both the matches. In the opening game, he saved three game points when he was down 17-20 but with all the courage and classic shots, he won the round 22-20.
In the second game, Loh Kean Yew had tightly grasped the match and had taken the much needed momentum as he led 11-4 in the mid-game break. The situation looked tensed and difficult from Prannoy but he fearlessly made a cover-up and eventually tied at 17 all. He then charged forward, for which he is famously known in Indian badminton.
Both the players played some solid badminton shots Prannoy’s strategic shots dominated at the front court that won him the match and earned him a ticket to another quarter-final this year.
Prannoy had entered the second round after his opponent Angus Ng Ka Long withdrew midway from the first round encounter due to an injury. Prannoy was, however, leading that game 11-10.
Lately, Prannoy has been in a great form as he finished Indian Open, Syed Modi International and German Open in quarterfinals. He was then the runner-up in Swiss Open. He also reached semifinals at the Indonesia Open and Malaysia Masters.
Though he has tasted several wins this year including his ranking in Top 20 in the World rankings but he is missing majorly on clinching a tournament title. However, with good form in Japan Open, it is likely that he might get on the top position.
HS Prannoy will take on the fourth-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei next.
Earlier in the tournament, Lakshya Sen received a shock defeat from the hands of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto and Saina Nehwal also got knocked out in the opening round as she lost 9-21 17-21 to top seed Akane Yamaguchi.
However, there are high hopes from Kidambi Srikanth who is another hope to play big after Prannoy in the Japan Open 2022.