Indian shuttler HS Prannoy continued his superb run at the BWF World Championships in Tokyo on Thursday by beating compatriot and ninth seed Lakshya Sen to make it to the quarterfinals.

The 30-year-old needed 75 minutes to register a come-from-behind 17-21, 21-16, 21-17 win over Sen, the recent Commonwealth Games 2022 men’s singles gold medallist.

“It’s always though. He’s one player who has improved tremendously in the last one year. In the circuit, he’s the one guy who has improved massively and the guy who has very high confidence in the last six months,” Prannoy said, in the BWF mixed zone, of his 21-year-old opponent after the match.

“It’s always tough to beat players like him, you have to dig deep. Especially in (these) conditions. He’s a retriever, his defence is super solid and you won’t get easy points from him. You need to work each and every point out there. Yeah, the body took a toll, I would say. Already everything is paining. I’m wondering how I’ll play tomorrow (smiles) but it feels good. He’s one guy who is tough to beat and it’ll give a lot of confidence to me.”

The win over Sen – Prannoy’s second in his fourth meeting against the Indian youngster in BWF events – came just a day after he upset World No 2 and home favourite Kento Momota 21-17, 21-16. He beat Austria’s Luka Wraber 21-11, 21-11 in the first round.

Sen, who is having a strong breakthrough season, looked on course to go through to the next round after winning the first game. Only for Prannoy to find his rhythm in the second.

“I think the first game there were a lot of patches where I played a lot of wrong shots, they weren’t good shots from my hand. The patch from 8-8 to 13-8 is the patch where the first game slipped for me,” said World No 18 Prannoy.

“In the second game I was probably a little more focused, more patient to prolong the rallies and that probably got me a few more points.”

The winner, though battered and bruised, is still active in the elite event and next faces Zhao Jun Peng, the World No 23.

“I’ve got to get some good sleep tonight. Last time I lost against him. It’s a big game tomorrow and I’ll have to up my levels tomorrow. The only thing is to recover properly,” he said.

Prannoy, despite an injury-hit career, has also had a decent 2022 season.

He reached the Swiss Open Super 300 final in March, and a month later played an instrumental role in India winning the Thomas Cup for the first time. He also a dream run at Indonesia Open Super 1000, where he incidentally lost against Zhao Jun Peng, his next opponent, in the semifinals.

And now that he’s reached the quarterfinal of the World Championships, does he think it is year to win the elusive senior medal?

“I don’t know. It gives a lot of extra pressure to you if you feel if it is a good year and you need to capitalise on it and use your chances. I’m not really thinking about it,” he added.

Zhao had defeated one of the favourites Lee Zii Jia to reach the quarterfinals and their meeting in Jakarata, where the Chinese left-hander won comfortably in straight games, is their only meeting so far.

Lakshya Sen’s reaction (Via BWF Media team)

“I was not very clinical in the finishing today. I was playing much better in the earlier rounds. Depending on the player... Prannoy is a steady player, lot of the shuttles keep coming back. Overall in the crucial stages, could have played a bit more attacking game. Prannoy is looking pretty strong, I hope he goes the distance in this one. He has a good match next, good luck to him.”

Earlier in the day, men’s doubles witnessed two quarterfinalists from India. While Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made it a straightforward win, the story of the tournament so far has to be Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun having a breakthrough. They defeated Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean of Singapore to reach quarterfinals.

Arjun MR and Dhruv Kapila after reaching the quarters (via BWF TV):

Arjun: We feel good. As every match, we were prepared for this one as well. We used different tactics compared to our last match because these guys are fast on the legs so we had to be extra ready. We had many nervous situations in the game but luckily we were able to get over them. We’re looking to go all the way through because we’ve had many close matches with good pairs. I feel this is our time, when matches our falling on our side as well. Winning such matches boosts your confidence and we just have to keep focussing and fight for the next one. We have played them thrice I think and all those matches were close, so with the confidence we have I think we’re ready to challenge them (on playing the Daddies next).

Dhruv: The game plan was to just keep the shuttle down because they were fast enough to keep the drive game on for us. I just felt a bit of stretch while hitting smashes towards the end (on taking a medical timeout). We are ready for that (on playing the Daddies next).