Sai Praneeth Guarantees 1st Men's Singles World Badminton Championships Medal Since 1983
BWF World Championships: Sai Praneeth upset world No.4 Jonatan Christie 24-22, 21-14 to reach the semi-finals.
Sai Praneeth reached his first semi-final at World Championships. (Photo Credit: BWF)
Sai Praneeth registered a massive upset against world No.4 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the quarter-finals of Badminton World Championships in Basel, Switzerland on Friday.
Praneeth, ranked 19 in the world, beat Christie 24-22, 21-14 in 51 minutes to reach his first World Championships semi-finals.
Earlier, PV Sindhu overcame former world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying 12-21, 23-21, 21-19 to reach her third consecutive semi-final at the tournament.
With this win, Praneeth has guaranteed at least a bronze medal for India in the men's singles discipline. Prakash Padukone was the last Indian to have won a medal (bronze) in men's singles in 1983.
It was Indonesia's Christie who earned the first point of the match but after getting a 4-2 lead early on, Christie gave away the initiative and this is where Praneeth started to take charge of the proceedings.
Praneeth went into a 9-5 lead before Christie fought back to level 10-10 but the Indian went into the break with a slender 11-10 advantage.
After the break, Praneeth looked the more aggressive player and went for his strokes while Christie remained on the defensive side, tossing up most of the shuttles.
Despite, Praneeth taking more initiative, the two kept alternating the points before Praneeth earned one game point.
Christie saved the game point and then brought up a game point of his own before Praneeth sealed the first game in his third opportunity.
The second game began with Christie making a number of uncharacteristic errors. In the first half of the second game, Praneeth did not have to do much as Christie kept committing errors and gifted the points to Praneeth. And just like that, the Indian went into the break with a massive 11-3 advantage.
After the break, Christie tried to push hard and put pressure on Praneeth by winning points but the Indian hung in there and at 18-14, Praneeth launched a barrage of smashes to bring up two match points.
As Christie sent the shuttle wide, Praneeth let out a roar and lay flat on the court with his hands covering his face in celebration.
This was the third time Praneeth and Christie met in their career and it was a first win against the Indonesian for the Indian.
Praneeth had lost to Kento Momota in the quarter-finals at last year's World Championships and had lost in the pre-quarterfinals the year before that.
Praneeth will next take on defending champion and world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan.
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