Prannoy-inspired India set up Hong Kong clash in Asian championships

Inspired by Prannoy's stirring fightback, the Indian team went on to beat Malaysia 4-1 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Hong Kong China

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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India's HS Prannoy hits a return during his match on Thursday in Dubai. — Photo by M. Sajjad
India's HS Prannoy hits a return during his match on Thursday in Dubai. — Photo by M. Sajjad

Published: Thu 16 Feb 2023, 10:59 PM

Amid deafening noise, HS Prannoy punched the air and jumped over the advertising board to exchange high-fives with his teammates on the bench.

The 30-year-old Indian shuttler had beaten world number four Lee Zii Jia 18-21 21-13 25-33 in a lung-busting clash in the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships.

It was a win that gave India the early advantage in the Group B tie against Malaysia at the Expo City-Dubai Exhibition Centre on Thursday.

Inspired by Prannoy’s stirring fightback, the Indian team went on to beat the formidable Malaysians 4-1 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Hong Kong China.

With both teams having already qualified for the next round, the top slot in Group B was up for grabs and it was India that grabbed it with both hands after Prannoy held his nerve in a dramatic match that lasted 70 minutes.

The world number nine heaved a sigh of relief after saving a match point in the pulsating final game to clinch the deal.

“It was a very tight match, losing the first game, then trying to focus on the next two games against a player who is in the top five in the world. It’s always tough. He is somebody who always has big shots and it’s really tough to defend against such players,” he said.

Zii Jia, who had been battling for form in the early season, rediscovered his touch against Prannoy, troubling the Indian with his smashes as well as his deft net play.

But the Indian responded brilliantly as both players traded blows in the gripping final stages of the final game that kept both sets of the fans on the edge of their seats.

Star shuttler PV Sindhu, on the other hand, comfortably won her singles game against Ling Ching Wong 21-13, 21-17.

PV Sindhu hits a forehand return during her match on Thursday. — Supplied photo
PV Sindhu hits a forehand return during her match on Thursday. — Supplied photo

But the Malaysian did trouble Sindhu in the second game, opening up a commanding 14-5 lead, before the Indian superstar regained control and finished off the match with a flurry of winners.

“I think with this match, I got a lot of confidence, the first game was easy, the second game, I was trailing 14-5. But I came back from that position and won the match, 21-17. So that gives me a lot of confidence,” the two-time Olympic medallist said after the match.

"I think I made too many unforced errors in the second game. The court from the other side was a bit. I was hitting and she was defending. I was making mistakes, I was not patient enough.

"But after 14-5, I decided to be patient and play one point at a time. I kept getting those points one by one and I won. So I am happy."

Meanwhile, UAE ended their campaign with a 3-2 defeat to Kazakhstan in the last Group tie.

But the home team will take plenty of positives from the tournament, with Madhumita Sundarapandian (women’s singles) and Dev Ayyappan and Dhiren Ayyappan (men’s doubles) recording impressive wins in their respective matches.

Results

Thursday

Kazakhstan 3 UAE 2

Madhumita Sundarapandian (UAE) beat Kamila Smagulova (Kazakhstan) 21-17, 21-13

Dmitriy Panarin (Kazakhstan) beat Bharath Lateesh (UAE) 21-13, 21-10

Nargiza Rakhmetullayeva/Aisha Zhumabek (Kazakhstan) beat Sanika Dhawan/Nayonika Rajesh (UAE) 30-29, 21-13

Dev Ayyappan/Dhiren Ayyappan (UAE) beat Khaitmurat Kulmatov/Artur Niyazov (Kazakhstan) 21-12, 21-9

Dmitriy Panarin/ Aisha Zhumabek (Kazakhstan) beat Dev Vishnu/Taabia Khan (UAE) 21-13, 29-27

India beat Malaysia 4-1

HS Prannoy (India) beat Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) 18-21, 21-13, 25-23

PV Sindhu (India) beat Ling Ching Wong (Malaysia) 21-13, 21-17

Aaron Chia/Wooi Yik Soh (Malaysia) beat Dhruv Kapila/Chirag Shetty (India) 21-16, 21-10

Gayatri Gopichand/Treesa Jolly (India) beat Pearly Tan/Thinnaah Muralitharan (Malaysia) 23-21, 21-15

Ishaan Bhatnagar/Tanisha Crasto (India) beat Tang Jie Chen/Ei Wei Toh (Malaysia) 21-19, 19-21, 21-16

China 3 South Korea 2

Singapore 5 Uzbekistan 0

Hong Kong China 5 Pakistan 0

Indonesia 3 Thailand 2

Japan 3 Chinese Taipei 2

Bahrain 3 Syria 2

Quarterfinals

Friday

11 am

South Korea vs Indonesia

Thailand vs Japan

4 pm

India vs Hong Kong China

China vs Malaysia

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