Sai Praneeth Elated With Historic Win in World Badminton Championships
BWF World Championships 2019: Sai Praneeth became the first men's singles player in 36 years to win a medal at the tournament.
B Sai Praneeth beat world No.4 Jonatan Christie in straight games to reach semi-finals. (Photo Credit: @bwfmedia)
Basel: After creating history by becoming the first men's singles player after Prakash Padukone in 1983 to win a World Championships medal, Sai Praneeth on Friday termed his straight games victory over world No. 4 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia as a "very big win".
Just a week after being chosen for the Arjuna Award, Praneeth breezed past Christie 24-22, 21-14 in 51 minutes to progress to the semi-finals, assuring himself of a bronze medal. He will next take on defending champion and world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday. Padukone had won bronze at the Worlds 36 years back.
"This is a very big win. The last time it was Prakash Padukone and since then no Indian men's player has won a medal at the World Championships. So yes, it is big and I am very happy," Praneeth, 27, said moments after he sunk to the floor as Cristie's shot went wide of the court.
"I need to prepare for the semi-final. We have a 3-2 head-to-head record. But that won't matter now. It will be who plays better on the day," said Praneeth, who is a lot fitter now than what he used to be.
Praneeth said he would also like to work on his smashes going into the last-four clash.
"I missed a few smashes (today) and would like to work on that. Tomorrow's game would be different as the opponent is different," he said.
Before Praneeth's encounter, PV Sindhu overcame world No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 to storm into the semifinals and assure herself of a fifth medal at the Worlds.
Asked if her gritty win gave him inspiration, Praneeth said: "When one wins, the other gets confidence. It is always that way. We train together."
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