“My focus is World Tour Finals,” says Prannoy

One of the most consistent players in the international circuit this season, Prannoy has consistently reached the quarters and semifinals this season but a title has still eluded him.

Prannoy recently replaced Tokyo Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of the latest men’s singles HSBC Race To Guangzhou rankings.

Prannoy recently replaced Tokyo Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of the latest men’s singles HSBC Race To Guangzhou rankings. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

One of the most consistent players in the international circuit this season, Prannoy has consistently reached the quarters and semifinals this season but a title has still eluded him.

Star India shuttler HS Prannoy has set his sight on the season-ending World Tour Finals but said he will have to hone his skills to ensure that he doesn’t falter at the semifinals stage in the remaining tournaments.

One of the most consistent players in the international circuit this season, Prannoy has consistently reached the quarters and semifinals this season but a title has still eluded him.

The 30-year-old from Kerala recently replaced Tokyo Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the top of the latest men’s singles HSBC Race To Guangzhou rankings.

He is leading with 58,090 points, having participated in 13 tournaments on the BWF World Tour this year. Players in the top 8 qualify for the year-ending World Tour Finals scheduled to be held from December 14 to 18 in Guangzhou.

“My focus would be the World Tour Finals. There are quite a few tournaments before that. I hope to produce winning results in those,” Prannoy said after guiding Kerala to a 3-1 win over Assam in the mixed team quarterfinals of the National Games here.

“I have to be consistent. I would like to get into a good rhythm before the World Tour Finals. I’m happy with my results over the last year and I need to be consistent.” A former world number 8, Prannoy had slipped out of the top 20 after enduring a tough phase plagued with health issues and a slump in form.

However, Prannoy has regained his place in the top 15 in the latest rankings and said his aim remains to get back into the elite 10.

“I would like to get into the top 10 and preferably top five as I would get a better draw. I also need to work on my game so that I should go beyond the semifinals. That is my priority now.” On Saturday, Prannoy, returning to court after a month’s break, didn’t break any sweat as he saw off Orijit Chaliha 21-11 21-9 in a lop-sided contest.

“I last played in the first week of September in Japan Open. It was a long break for me after some good victories this year,” Prannoy said.

“I was not moving as well as I wanted to, but I have got back to training. And, playing a match after a long time is always tough. But going deeper into the tournament, I will be getting tougher matches.” Prannoy has been in good form since helping India win their maiden Thomas Cup title in May this year. His best came when he made it to the final of the Swiss Open, a BWF Super 300 event.

In the day’s other matches, Maharashtra defeated Delhi 3-1 while Gujarat got the better of Uttarakhand 3-2 to reach the semi-finals.

Maharashtra will now face top seeds Telangana while the hosts will take on Kerala for a spot in the gold medal match.

For Gujarat, it was a reason for celebrations as they are assured of first-ever badminton medal in the National Games.

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