HS Prannoy clinches Indonesian Masters title

World No 43 drubs local lad Firman Abdul Kholik 21-11, 22-20

New Delhi: Indian badminton reached another high yesterday when youngster HS Prannoy clinched the men's singles title of the $125,000 Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold in Palembang.

Indian shuttler HS Prannoy. Pic/AFP
Indian shuttler HS Prannoy. Pic/AFP 

The fifth seeded Indian won his first GP Gold title at the GOR Jakabaring, drubbing Indonesian Firman Abdul Kholik 21-11, 22-20 in 43 minutes to take home a cheque of $9,000. The World No 43 has been on a tremendous run after he reached the Vietnam Open Grand Prix final last week, following it up with a victory here.

Prannoy is the third Indian to clinch a GP Gold title this year after Saina Nehwal won the India GP Gold in January and Arvind Bhat came out on top at the German Open GP Gold in March.

"I don't know what to say. All I can say is that I am really, really happy with the way I played," Prannoy told IANS from Indonesia.

"Mentally, I was thinking about each game and so I could play well. I am also happy with the fact that I could win a final against an Indonesian in Indonesia.

"The hard work has finally paid off." The 22-year-old Indian took off really well in the summit clash by racing away to a 9-3 lead in the first game. The Kerala shuttler kept extending his lead till 16-11.

Prannoy on fire
From there, Prannoy, whose best ranking has been No 34, clinched five successive points to pocket the game.

The second game was a much more close affair with services being exchanged after almost every point. The 17-year-old Indonesian gave a tough fight to Prannoy till 16-all but appeared to run out of steam.

Taking advantage of that, Prannoy won the next four points to reach matchpoint. But Kholik, out of nowhere, found legs to level the scoreline at 20-all. Prannoy showed maturity and experience to shut the affair and take the game and match in the next couple of minutes.

Prannoy spoke to chief national coach Pullela Gopichand after the match, who congratulated him. "I spoke to Gopi-anna. He told me that I did a good job and the title win is not just good but super," he added.

The prize money HS Prannoy pocketed after winning the Indonesian Masters

Gopi reacts...

I think it is really wonderful. He (H S Prannoy) not only played well in Vietnam to reach the finals, but winning in Indonesian Masters is really incredible. He was the only foreigner playing on the final day among the Indonesians.

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