Badminton National Championship: Prannoy Stuns Srikanth to Lift Maiden Title
World number 11 HS Prannoy stunned world number 2 Kidambi Srikanth in the final of the Badminton National Championship to lift his maiden title in Nagpur on Wednesday.
HS Prannoy. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: World number 11 HS Prannoy stunned world number 2 Kidambi Srikanth in the final of the Badminton National Championship to lift his maiden title in Nagpur on Wednesday.
Prannoy recorded a thrilling thee-game win against the top-ranked Indian as he thumped Srikanth 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 to clinch the title. As for Srikanth, he was uncharacteristically very erratic in the final and multiple unforced errors didn't help his cause either.
However, it was Srikanth, who started on the front-foot in the final as he raced away to a 3-0 lead in the opening game. Prannoy then took control of his game and his booming smashes came to the fore as he leveled the match at 7-7.
But Srikanth continued to dominate the first game and took a slender 11-10 lead into the first break. But after returning to the court, Prannoy was different player altogether as he blew away Srikanth — who recently won his fourth super series title in 2017 in France.
Few unforced errors from Srikanth helped Prannoy's cause and in no time, he he held multiple game points. Prannoy won the first game 21-15 to record a stunning comeback win as during the early parts of the game he was way win his opponent.
The second game started as it ended in the first — with Prannoy on the front-foot as he led 8-3 in the opening stages of the match. But Srikanth wasn't giving up so easily as he hit back in sublime style.
Srikanth first clawed back into the game by winning back to back points to issue a warning to his opponent. And then, he won three more points in succession to level the match at 8-8. Both players went neck and neck till 13-13, with neither of the two players giving an inch to the other.
However, Srikanth got the impetus that he wanted when Prannoy hits a couple of unforced errors to hand his counterpart the advantage. Srikanth then leveled the match at 1-1 after Prannoy hits his return into the net and concede the game 16-21.
However, the third game was all about Prannoy who didn't give Srikanth any chance to comeback into the match. Few unforced errors from the World No.2 coupled with excellent net play by Prannoy meant that Srikanth trailed 1-5 early on in the deciding game.
The third game also saw the best rally of the match, which was eventually won by Prannoy and he led 9-1 at this point. At the break, Prannoy held a healthy lead of 11-3 and was moving all guns blazing towards the title.
Following the break, Srikanth tried to issue a fight back but it was sensed early by Prannoy and he ended it quickly with the help of his court court smashes. Prannoy finally clinched the decider 21-7 to lift his maiden title.
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