Japan Open: B Sai Praneeth Goes Down Fighting to Top Seed Kento Momota
B Sai Praneeth lost to Kento Momota in the semi-final of the Japan Open, ending India's challenge at the tournament.
Photo Credit: BAI
Tokyo: India's challenge at the Japan Open ended with B Sai Praneeth's loss to top seed and home hero Kento Momota in the semi-finals here on Saturday.
The Indian lost 18-21, 12-21 in a semifinal lasting 45 minutes. Momota had also beaten Sai at the Singapore Open earlier this year.
The unseeded Indian started off the match on a great note as he took an initial 3-1 lead in the first few minutes. However, Momota came back with a great fight and took an 11-8 lead at the mid-game break.
Praneeth, who had been in great touch in the tournament so far, tried to up the ante and earned some points but ultimately lost the game 18-21 in 23 minutes.
In the second game, the top-seeded Japanese didn't let Praneeth take a long lead from the start and overturned a 6-9 deficit to make it 12-9 with the help of six straight points.
From there on, the world number one raced to a seven-point lead and eventually won the match 12-21 in 22 minutes to make it to his second consecutive final. He will take on either Jan O Jorgensen or Jonatan Christie on Sunday.
Sai had made the Japan Open semifinals beating Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto here on Friday.
India's challenge in the women's singles ended on Friday when P V Sindhu lost to Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals. The Japanese shuttler had also defeated Sindhu in the Indonesia Open final last week.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
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