HS Prannoy upsets former world champion Loh Kean Yew, in Japan Open last eight

Updated on Sep 01, 2022 07:27 PM IST

HS Prannoy will next face Chinese Taipei's Chou Tien Chen, who won the bronze medal at the world championships last week, in the quarterfinal.

Indian shuttler HS Prannoy(Twitter/PRANNOYHSPRI)
Indian shuttler HS Prannoy(Twitter/PRANNOYHSPRI)
By, New Delhi

HS Prannoy has scalped yet another big name on the BWF World Tour. He ousted 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the second round of the $750,000 Japan Open in Osaka on Thursday.

Prannoy, the world No 18 who beat Japan’s two-time world champion Kento Momota and compatriot Lakshya Sen at the Tokyo World Championships last week, was in sensational form at the Maruzen Intec Arena as he recovered from huge point deficits in both games to beat the world No 7 Loh 22-20, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

The eighth seed was leading 17-11 in the opening game when Prannoy claimed six points on the trot to level the contest at 17-all. Loh won the next three to reach game point but the unseeded Prannoy again won five points, in the process saving three game points, to draw first blood.

Loh had a 14-6 lead in the second game before Prannoy, who had enjoyed the highest ranking of world No 8, narrowed the gap to 12-17. Prannoy again rallied brilliantly, clinching the next seven points in a row to go ahead and win the second game and match on his second match point.

It was Prannoy’s third win in four meetings against Loh. In the quarter-finals, Prannoy will face Chinese Taipei’s fourth seed Chou Tien Chen. The world No 6 has been in good form of late, winning bronze at the World Championships.

Though the former world No 2 has a 4-3 win-loss record, Prannoy has beaten Chou both times they have faced this year. The key member of India’s Thomas Cup champion side beat Chou in straight games at the Malaysia Open in June and upset the world No 6 again at the Singapore Open in July.

Srikanth exits

Prannoy is the only Indian left at the Super 750 tournament after Kidambi Srikanth lost tamely to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama. A former world No 1, Srikanth raised expectations after downing Asian champion and Malaysian world No 4 Lee Zii Jia in the opening round, but lost 10-21, 16-21 in 40 minutes to the world No 17, who was backed by a partisan crowd. This was world No 14 Srikanth’s second loss in as many meetings against the Japanese.

Srikanth was not comfortable from the start. Barring once at the start, he never led in the opening game as Tsuneyama kept extending the lead to pocket the first game on the first game point.

He fought back in the second, leading for most part, but from 15-all Tsuneyama found a spring in his step, racing away to 20-15. Srikanth saved a match point but the Japanese converted on the second opportunity.

Two tournaments cancelled

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Thursday cancelled the Hong Kong Open and Macau Open due to the Covid-19 situation and complexities around the quarantine measures in the two regions. The events were scheduled for November.

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