HS Prannoy defeated world No 2 Kento Momota in straight games at the BWF World Championships in Tokyo on Wednesday to reach the round of 16. Clinching the match 21-17, 21-16, he registered his first ever win against the Japanese in eight meetings. With this victory, Prannoy set up a pre quarterfinal clash with compatriot Lakshya Sen.
During the 54-minute encounter, the Indian was solid from start to finish and didn’t allow the home favourite to get on a roll during the 54 minutes the match lasted.
After the victory against Momota, this is what Prannoy had to say in the BWF Mixed Zone:
On whether the win was an expected one:
“The record has been not so great with him, 7-0 in the past. It is always tough to play against someone who has played the highest level of badminton so I knew I had to be very disciplined against him and I think it was really important to pace the game really well and to know which points to push and which points are okay to lose. I think in that way, strategy-wise, I was pretty much correct today. And he’s not at his best but a win is a win for me. Playing one more round at a tournament is one thing I would always like to do and I think playing one more round here would be great.”
On whether he is playing with a lot of control these days:
“I have been working a lot on the mental side and been trying to be as calm as possible and in a lot of matches, I feel I am in much better control, not following the way the opponents are playing, so in that way (progress) is up but I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in those lines.
On playing in front of home fans against Momota:
“After playing in Indonesia and Malaysia, the crowd support feels a little bit alright. I think the crowd support is good but today, there was a full-packed crowd for him but yeah it’s not really big or loud that you’re disturbed by it.
“But I am really glad that the people could come over for the World Championships, especially after what happened in the last year and then the Olympics. I think now for them to come and watch the players live is great.”
On Momota’s struggles:
“Probably he’s tentative, especially after the (accident) break. I’ve had tons of injuries and coming back after injury you’re always tentative. And if you start losing in the first round, things become even more tough. So there needs to be a constant graph, which is going up where you’re playing quarters, semis, and then things get back to normal. Otherwise, there’s always doubt, and badminton is a confidence game. Once you’re confident things start to fall in place and you don’t have to think twice about doing something.”