New Delhi: HS Prannoy started off as a qualifier at the India Open 2013, but by the fourth day the Indian had beaten Indonesian legend Taufiq Hidayat. On Friday, he was up against the world number one Lee Chong Wei at the Siri Fort Sports Complex and he lost 21-14, 21-19 but he put up a very good fight prompting the Malaysian to say that Prannoy is a very bright prospect.
At the start in court 1, Prannoy was visibly nervous but started off well against the very-fit Malaysian. In the first few minutes itself it was clear Prannoy meant business and matched Wei point for point making it 4-4. The world number one though took a seven point lead immediately with long rallies from which Prannoy failed to recover conceding the first game 21-14. In the second game, Prannoy kept his composure and was able to keep up with Wei's pace. Prannoy faltered a bit at the nets but his smashes were on target.
With the home crowd behind the Indian, Prannoy took charge of the rallies but Wei seamed to be at ease. The top seed played within his limits being his explosive self only when required. Prannoy kept up the pressure but his net game became jittery as the game progressed. At one stage, they were tied 9-9 and in no time Prannoy surged ahead taking the lead. He even put the Malaysian in a spot of bother at 18-13. But Prannoy faltered at the crucial juncture to blow away the lead as Wei chipped away at the points. Wei took the game 21-19 and the match 21-14, 21-19, while Prannoy took away an experience worth a lifetime.
The Indian fought bravely but was no match to the Malaysian, losing 26-14, 21-19 in the quarter-finals.
Reflecting on the game, Prannoy said: "It was a very nice experience. I could have played better and I was playing much better in the second game. I was little bit nervous, actually more nervous than playing Hidayat. I know he (Lee Chong Wei)is a fit player and very explosive So I was attacking at the start and my game overall was very good."
Prannoy conceded a lot of points in the nets and he said: "l had so much of errors in the net. I should have played that better. I never thought i would be playing this kind of a game. At one point I was bit confused whether to go for attack or yo defend."
"I think I played pretty good overall in this tournament, specially with Hidayat and against Lee Chong I was able to put up a good fight. I am happy," added the Indian shuttler.
In other results, Indian Sai Praneeth crashed out losing to sixth seed Kenichi Tago 21-17, 19-21, 21-11. but eighth seed PV Sindhu of India dispatched Yui Hashimoto of Japan 21-16, 21-16 to enter the semi-finals. Second seed Juliane Schenk of Germany eased into the semis defeating fifth seed Korean Yeon Ju Bae 21-17 21-13.