Praneeth: I’m capable of winning something big

"I never expected the final to be so easy but I am happy the way I played. I’m happy that I won the tournament and beating Lee Hun Il gives me a lot of confidence going ahead. I think I played well in this tournament," said Sai Praneeth after winning the Canada Open.

Sai Praneeth won his first major title in badminton at the Canada Open GP.   -  M. Moorthy

Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth feels clinching a maiden Grand Prix crown at the Canada Open has boosted his confidence to achieve bigger feats.

The 23-year-old, plagued by injuries and indifferent form, has been making early exits from tournaments.

He had occasional bursts of brilliance, stunning 2003 All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim at Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in 2013 and ruining the farewell party of Indonesian great Taufik Hidayat in Indonesia Open the same year.

In fact, at the All England Championships this year, Praneeth had defeated two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the first round. A title, however, always eluded him.

But Sunday night, the Andhra Pradesh lad thrashed Korea’s Lee Hyun Il 21-12 21-10 in a lop-sided final to stand on the podium for the first time.

“I never expected the final to be so easy but I am happy the way I played. I’m happy that I won the tournament and beating Lee Hun Il gives me a lot of confidence going ahead. I think I played well in this tournament,” he told PTI.

“It doesn’t change any targets as my target is to win something big and I know I’m not too far from that in terms of capability,” he added.

Brimming with confidence after the win, Praneeth has now set his eyes on the USD 120,000 US Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament. Praneeth will start his campaign against Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen.

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