HS Prannoy outlasts Srikanth to win maiden national badminton title

Second-seeded H.S. Prannoy dished out a brilliant display of controlled aggression to down top seed and World No. 2 Kidambi Srikanth 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 in 56 minutes in the senior national badminton championship

H.S. Prannoy celebrates his win over Kidambi Srikanth at the senior national badminton championship in Nagpur on Wednesday.   -  V.V.S. Subrahmanyam

Second-seeded H. S. Prannoy dished out a brilliant display of controlled aggression to down top seed and World No. 2 Kidambi Srikanth 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 in 56 minutes to clinch his maiden title in the Senior national badminton championship at the Divisional Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

In a contest between two sparring partners, Prannoy was clearly in a different mood from the word go and ensured that he got the early momentum with a terrific blend of big smashes and net dribbles. In a clever change of strategy, Prannoy kept the shuttle low as much as possible and used the flanks to control the pace of the game to the dismay of Srikanth, who is enjoying an incredible season with four Super Series titles this year.

“When you play against someone with whom you train daily (Srikanth), there can’t be any specific strategy except that you have to seize the big moments. Compared to the French Open semifinal loss to him in a close game, I must say I was mentally more tougher and that was a big factor today."

 

What clearly also caught Kidambi Srikanth off-guard was the way Prannoy came up with those stunning backhanders which had the former on the wrong foot quite often.

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“Yes, I know that Taufik has the best backhand and I am glad that I am also good in that,” said a smiling Prannoy later on.

“This is a big win in my career as I look ahead. Beating someone like Srikanth is always a great feeling. What is important is that I stayed positive, didn’t let him come back into the game by denying him the scoring chances. For I knew once he picks up a few points, he will hit back at you quickly,” Prannoy said.

A smiling newly-crowned national champion Prannoy also disclosed that this was his first national title in any category too. “I never won even the under-13 category though I clinched many All India ranking titles,” he said.

“When you play against someone with whom you train daily, there can’t be any specific strategy except that you have to seize the big moments. Compared to the French Open semifinal loss to him in a close game, I must say I am mentally more tougher and that was a big factor today,” a visibly delighted Prannoy said.

“By all means this is a significant win and I hope to carry the form into the two big Super Series — China and the Hong Kong Open,” signed off a triumphant champion.

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