New Delhi: Young Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy created the biggest upset of the Yonex Sunrise India Open when he outplayed top seed and tournament favourite Jan O Jorgensen to advance into the quarter-finals here on Thursday.
At a high-octane match played at the Siri Fort stadium, World No.17 Prannoy played some punishing rallies to defeat the Danish World No.2 18-21 21-14 21-14.
Olympic champion Lin Dan cruised into the last eight stage with a 21-13, 21-16 win over Hu Yun of Hong Kong.
Women's top seed Saina Nehwal got the better of birthday girl Ruthvika Shivani, who is also the current national champion. The World No.2 beat the 18-year-old 21-16, 21-17.
Men's second seed and World No.4 Kidambi Srikanth defeated Japanese World No.15 Kento Momota 21-12, 15-21, 21-15.
However, Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap's campaign was halted by Xue Song of China, who won 21-17, 21-11.
The lone Indian challenge in women's doubles also ended with the defeat of the spirited pair of Kuhoo Garg and Ningshi Hazarika, who lost to seventh seed Chinese pair Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua 4-21, 6-21.
Denmark's Jorgensen was clearly struggling to find answers to the fast pace of Prannoy’s game, but said that the “best player won” this match.
Though five-time World champion China’s Dan and India’s Saina Nehwal were playing on adjacent courts, the crowd was totally focused on the Prannoy-Jorgensen battle.
Jorgensen started off aggressively in the first game though Prannoy, who has won the Vietnam Open and Indonesia Masters in 2014, matched him point-for-point. Both the towering players were hitting the shuttle all over the court and tested each other’s capabilities.
Though Jorgensen pocketed the first game, Prannoy came back strongly in the second and took advantage of the drift to which many players are trying to adjust.
The decider game saw some tense moments when Prannoy was leading 13-11. The chair umpire over-ruled the line-umpire’s judgement over a line-call thus awarding the point to the Dane. By the time Prannoy and chief national coach P Gopichand realised what had happened, the Indian had run out of time to challenge the call.
“Though I lost the point, I was determined to keep my focus on the game. I have had some pretty close calls in many tournaments, so I did not let the coach’s and crowd’s agitation get to me,” Prannoy said about the incident after the match.
Jorgensen won the next point, but he admitted that the “aggressive approach of the coach was a bit too much for him,” and he lost focus thereafter.
Prannoy saw his chance and raced away to victory, sending the crowd into a frenzied celebration.
“The conditions were suitable for me and I was playing really fast as I knew Jorgensen doesn’t like my style of playing. Overall, it was a really good game and the incident did not bother me,” said the 22-year-old Prannoy.
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