Japan Open 2019 semifinal: Sai Praneeth goes down fighting

B Sai Praneeth lost 18—21, 12—21 to World No. 1 Kento Momota in a match that lasted for 45 minutes.

Sai Praneeth B

Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth B lost to Kento Momota in the Japan Open 2019 semifinal.   -  Getty Images

India’s campaign at the ongoing Japan Open came to an end after B. Sai Praneeth lost his men’s singles semifinal clash to World no. 1 Kento Momota at the $750,000 tournament on Saturday.

Praneeth, who had recorded an easy win over Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto to enter the semis, lost 18—21, 12—21 to Momota in a match that lasted for 45 minutes.

The unseeded Indian started the match on a great note, taking an initial 3—1 lead in the first few minutes. However, Momota came back with a great fight and took an 11—8 lead at the mid-game break.

Praneeth, who had been in great touch in the tournament so far, tried to up the ante but ultimately lost the game 18—21 in 23 minutes.

In the second game, the top-seeded Japanese overturned a 6—9 deficit to make it 12—9 with the help of six straight points.

From there on, the world number one raced to a seven-point lead and eventually won the match 12—21 in 22 minutes to make it to his second consecutive final. He will take on either Jan O Jorgensen or Jonatan Christie on Sunday.

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