World Championships: Prannoy stuns Lin Dan to enter pre-quarters, Sai Praneeth advances

The unseeded Indian beat the highly-decorated Chinese, seeded 11th in the showpiece tournament, 21-11, 13-21, 21-7 in a second round match that lasted one hour and two minutes.

H.S. Prannoy celebrates after beating Lin Dan.   -  REUTERS

Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy stunned multiple-time Olympic and world champion Lin Dan in a hard-fought match while Sai Praneeth outplayed Lee Dong Keun to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships on Tuesday.

Prannoy, unseeded in the tournament, beat the highly-decorated Chinese 21-11, 13-21, 21-7 in a second round match that lasted one hour and two minutes.

In the pre-quarterfinals, Prannoy faces an uphill task against top seed Kento Momota of Japan, who downed Luis Enrique Penalver of Spain 21-10, 21-7.

Prannoy completely dominated the first game and led all the way after 2-2. The Indian was ahead at 10-5 and then raced to 19-11 before pocketing it.

In five meetings between the two, Prannoy has emerged victorious thrice. The Chinese won in the last meeting, at the Australian Open in June.

Lin, who had also won gold in the 2008 Olympics, apart from seven World Championships titles, roared back in the second game.

They were tied 5-5 but from there on, the Chinese legend did not give any chance to Prannoy as he easily won the second game to take the match to the decider.

Prannoy, however, was not going to be intimidated by the reputation of the former world number one. The Indian reserved the best for the last and just like the first game, Prannoy left Lin far behind after 4-4 and won the deciding game easily to wrap up the match.

READ: Badminton World Championships: Srikanth, Praneeth, Prannoy make winning start

“I started and ended well but the strategy in the second game went completely opposite for me. Thanks to coaches I could make a few changes in crucial moments. I am happy I was patient and was ready for a long match. Shuttles were not very fast but I am happy with my game,” Prannoy said.

On playing World No. 1 Momota next, Prannoy said: “Well, the draw was looking tough from the start. Yes I am looking forward to Momota because there are things which I need to prove. I think this is the event where I need to, I know that I am a big tournament player, hope tomorrow is a good day.”

Later on Tuesday, 16th seed Sai Praneeth completed a comprehensive 21-16, 21-15 win over Dong Keun of South Korea in the second round.

In the 56-minute long encounter, 26-year-old Praneeth won the match in two straight sets. World number 38 Keun did not look promising in the game as he lost the two consecutive games.

In the women’s doubles, the Indian pair of Ashwini Ponappa N. Sikki Reddy got a walkover from Chinese Taipei’s Chang Ching Hui and Yang Ching Tun in their opening match. They will face seventh seeded Chinese pair of Du Yue and LI Yin Hui in the second round.

The men’s doubles pairing of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy beat the French duo of Thom Gicquel and Ronan Labar 21-13, 21-13 in a first round match.