In a run to semi-finals rather was rather reminiscent of 2017 at the same event for him, India’s HS Prannoy bowed out of Indonesia Open with a straight-games against China’s Zhao Jun Peng in Jakarta on Saturday.
After wins over three higher-ranked players, Prannoy couldn’t find his best game against Zhao, ranked 35 in the world. In 2017, he had defeated Anthony Ginting, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long at this event, before losing in the semifinal against then world No 47 Kazumasa Sakai.
At the Istora on Saturday, lost 16-21 15-21 to Zhao, who is a two-time bronze medallist at the World Junior Championships, in a 40-minute last four clash in what was their first meeting in international badminton.
The 29-year-old had gotten off to fast starts in each of his previous matches, with Lashkya Sen, Ng Ka Long Angus and Rasmus Gemke all finding it hard to keep up with his tempo. It was the opposite in this match as the Indian fell behind early against the left-handed Chinese player in both games and couldn’t recover. His error count was high and he was often caught on the backfoot by the tempo Zhao was playing at.
By the time Prannoy starting dictating rallies in both the games, Zhao had built up a big lead and could see the game out.
With Prannoy’s defeat, India’s challenge came to an end in the year’s 2nd Super 1000 event on the BWF World Tour.
The tournament marked the second semi-final on BWF World Tour this season for Prannoy after Swiss Open Super 300. But in Superseries or Super 500-plus events, this was his first semifinal since the French Open in 2017. Continuing on from his run to the quarterfinals at the 2021 World Championships, and then an unbeaten showing during India’s Thomas Cup triumph, Prannoy’s good form is set to bring back to *closer the top 20 this coming week.
Corrections and clarifications: Prannoy’s rank after the Indonesia Open semifinal run is world No 21.