Indian shuttler HS Prannoy showed nerves of steel to stun world number seven Jonatan Christie and enter the men's singles second round at the Toyota Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament here on Wednesday. A former top-10 player, Prannoy recovered from a game down to outwit sixth seed Christie 18-21 21-16 23-21 in a thrilling contest that clocked an hour and 15 minutes. It is Prannoy's first win against the Indonesian in last four attempts.
Prannoy, who had failed to complete the job after doing all the hard work against Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia last week, seemed determined to never give up. His stroke-play was a treat to watch.
The 28-year-old from Kerala had spent two weeks stressing over his physical and mental health after being down with COVID-19 nearly two months ago.
The infection left him with pain in his ribcage even though everything looked normal in the tests.
He could resume training only in the second week of December but again had to go through the ordeal of a false positive result ahead of the Yonex Thailand Open last week.
"I'm proud of my win today. I haven't practised the last few days and my rib was hurting. Probably there's a muscle inflammation because I was coughing a lot when I had COVID," said Prannoy, who will next take on Malaysia's Daren Liew.
"Today I just wanted to stay in there as there were no expectations."I had a fall when he had match point and hurt my left shoulder. I felt it was dislocated but it went back into place. Right now it's ok but it might start hurting again after a while."
Prannoy and Sameer Verma will carry India's charge in the men's singles after the withdrawal of fellow colleagues B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth.
Praneeth and his roommate Srikanth were forced to pullout after the former tested positive for COVID-19.
In the women's doubles event, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to German pair of Linda Efler and Siabel Herttrich 21-11, 21-19.
In the men's doubles event, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila beat Olver Leydon-Davis and Abhinav Manota of Australia 23-21, 21-17.
(With inputs from PTI)