HS Prannoy beats Viktor Axelsen in BWF World Tour Finals

HS Prannoy beat Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen 14-21, 21-17, 21-18 in a BWF World Tour Finals match on Friday. This is Prannoy’s second win over Axelsen.

FILE PHOTO: H.S. Prannoy returns a shot against Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke during the men’s singles semi-final match at Thomas Cup in Bangkok on May 13, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: H.S. Prannoy returns a shot against Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke during the men’s singles semi-final match at Thomas Cup in Bangkok on May 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

HS Prannoy beat Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen 14-21, 21-17, 21-18 in a BWF World Tour Finals match on Friday. This is Prannoy’s second win over Axelsen.

HS Prannoy, on Friday, registered a magnificent come-from-behind win over Olympic and world champion Viktor Axelsen in his final BWF World Tour Finals 2022 match in Bangkok. Prannoy prevailed 14-21, 21-17, 21-18 over Axelsen in 51 minutes. It is his second win over the Dane shuttler in seven meetings.

In the opening game, Axelsen raced to an 11-7 lead at the interval. Prannoy bounced back with seven points, but the Dane upped the ante and cruised to take the game 21-14 with an angled crosscourt stroke.

Beginning the second game, Prannoy showed signs of a fight back, even smashing right into Axelsen’s nose to give him a brief scare. But that did not rattle the world no. 1 as Axelsen quickly gained a 6-4 lead.

Thereafter, world no. 12 Prannoy engaged Axelsen in rallies and net play to squeeze the gap to 8-10 and earned five consecutive points to take a 16-12 lead after the interval with smashes and edge-of-the-court strokes. The Indian, however, dropped the first game point chance at 20-15 while trying to play a crosscourt smash. He then quickly levelled the scoreline taking the game 21-17, with Axelsen hitting the net and sending the shuttle wide.

In the third game, Prannoy took a 4-2 lead. As he grew in confidence, he rattled Axelsen with smashes and deceptive cross-court flicks. By the interval, Prannoy had an 11-10 lead with Axelsen misjudging an edge-of-the-court shot. The game headed for a thrilling end, with both players going neck and neck at 18-18 before Prannoy earned two back-to-back points, one of which came off an unreturnable body smash, to take the match at 21-18.

Prannoy was already out of the semifinal contention after losing his first two Group A matches. In contrast, the reigning Olympic champion Axelsen beat Kodai Naraoka of Japan and Lu Guang Zu of China in straight games to seal his place in the last four.

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Earlier, Prannoy lost to Naraoka and Guang Zu in successive matches. In both matches, the Indian shuttler lost after playing a three-game contest.

Prannoy was the lone Indian player competing at the 2022 season-ending BWF World Tour Finals - where only the top 8 players/pairs of the year take part.

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