Sai, Sindhu enter quarters, Prannoy, Srikanth bow out
At one stage, after the end of the 57-shot rally, an exhausted Prannoy was left prostrated on the floor following a perfect net return from the World No 1
Basel (Switzerland): India's B Sai Praneeth dished out a superlative performance to stun world no 8 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and progress to the quarterfinals but H S Prannoy's fight ended with a narrow loss at the BWF World Championships here on Thursday.
World No 19 Praneeth, who had reached the finals at Swiss Open this year, took just 42 minutes to dispatch sixth seeded Anthony of Indonesia 21-19 21-13 to set up a likely clash with another Indonesian Jonatan Christie, seeded fourth and the reigning Asian Games champion. Earlier, Prannoy showed glimpsed of brilliance, especially in the opening game, but couldn't stop World No 1 Kento Momota from registering a 21-19 21-12 win, his fifth victory over the Indian in as many encounters. In the opening game, Praneeth quickly erased a 0-3 deficit to move to a 8-5 deficit.
The Indian, who has had success against Anthony at the 2018 Asia Team championship and 2017 World Championship, kept his strangehold to enter the break with a 11-8 advantage. After the interval, Anthony managed to turn the tables at 14-12 and also threatened to undo the good work of the Indian but Praneeth got his bearings in time to pocket the opening game with three straight points from 18-19. In the second game, Praneeth zoomed to 6-2 but Anthony made his way to manage a 11-8 lead at the breather.
After the break, the Indian reeled off six straight points to make it 14-12. He kept marching ahead as Anthony crumbled. Earlier, Momota dominated the proceedings initially against Prannoy as he moved from a 8-4 lead to grab a 11-7 advantage at the break. Prannoy started putting pressure on his rival after the breather with an attacking game to claw back at 12-12 and kept snapping at Momota's heels. At one stage, after the end of the 57-shot rally, an exhausted Prannoy was left prostrated on the floor following a perfect net return from the World No 1.
The point gave Momota a two-point cushio at 19-17. But the Indian stuck to his guns and a precise straight smash helped him to level at 19-19. Momota, however, upped the pace to grab the game point with a return on the backline and then sealed it with a powerful smash. After the change of sides, Momota once again found his way out of tricky situations to run up a lead of 11-5 at the break. Prannoy tried his best but Momota ensured he had the last laugh as he converted soon after gaining nine match points.
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