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HS Prannoy became the first Indian men’s singles shuttler to clinch the Malaysia Masters title on Sunday as he defeated China’s Weng Hong Yang in the final. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are the other two Indian players to win Malaysia Masters in the singles category (when the tournament was a Grand Prix Gold).

Prannoy got the better of Weng Hong Yang 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 in a three-game final that lasted one hour and 34 minutes. 

The first game of the final was a tight battle as both the shuttlers began with high energy and shot quality. They were tied at 5-5 before Prannoy got ahead (11-10) by a point at the break. 

Prannoy did not fall behind Weng in the second half of the first game and took the lead in the match.

The Indian shuttler took time to find his feet in the second game as Weng came all guns blazing. He didn’t give Prannoy any time to settle and won the second game 21-13. 

However, in the third game, it was Prannoy who came out on top as he maintained his calmness in tough situations. He was ahead at the break (11-10) in the third game before showcasing some superior net play and smashes to clinch the game 21-18 and win the title.

“I congratulate HS Prannoy for becoming the first Indian men’s singles shuttler to clinch the Malaysia Masters title. He has contributed to many memorable victories in Indian badminton and continuing his fine form into the BWF World Tour title is a matter of great pride for the country and all of us. I hope and wish he continues his impressive run in the upcoming competitions and brings more laurels to India,” said Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of the Badminton Association of India. 

— via BAI

HS Prannoy’s post-match reaction:

Emotions of winning a first title in six years: 

I think too many emotions as such. The last six years were too much of a rollercoaster ride for me. Really didn’t expect this to happen after 6 years to be honest, if you’d asked me in 2017, I don’t think I would have told you that 2023 I’d be winning a Super 500. Mixed emotions, but yeah really happy. Thanks to all the coaches and support staff back home. Thanks to Gopi sir, he has kept telling me that I should believe that it will happen one day. It happened. Thanks to Guru (Gurusaidutt), he has been right behind me the entire week. The last four months we have worked really, really hard. I think the result has finally come.

Did you sleep last night? 

No, not been sleeping since last three days. That was causing a little bit of worry to my team that I’ve not been sleeping (smiles). That’s how it is, there is too much of excitement, many emotions. You are excited to play out there, in front of such a big crowd, such a beautiful arena. 

Plenty of upsets in this tournament. Is there a sense of pride in you today? 

Yes definitely, the draw was really tough for me. Last night was an unfortunate incident for Christian (injury) but I think apart from that, I had really tough matches and had to dig really deep. Four matches, all of them went to the wire. That shows how patient I was and fitness too, was decent I’d say. To beat these players in these conditions is not easy, the court was really slow the entire tournament. All matches were going long, just had to hang in there. I think I did that well.

Olympic qualification off to a good start. How ready are you to take on Lakshya, Kidambi in this race to Paris? 

(Smiles) I think the first thing is to keep aside the competition among ourselves. To be honest, the competition is with myself. Really important for me to be consistent in whatever I do, the results will follow. I need to be smart enough to pick tournaments to play, and train in between as much as possible. These are the key points. The number of tournaments are really high. Just have to be smart. 

How much confidence this gives? 

Gives a lot of confidence. Gives a lot of insights too winning these kind of matches digging deep, to be honest. There are some hidden gems you sometimes discover about your own game after a long time. That you can do this. That is what happened here in Malaysia, I could discover a lot of things that will give a lot of confidence. 

— Quotes courtesy: BWF Media Team
Photo: BAI

A week to remember for HSP: A first BWF World Tour title (Since it began in 2018) and a first international title since US Open 2017.

64-min, 3-game win vs Chou Tien Chen in Rd 1 

70-min, 3-game win vs Li Shi Feng in Rd 2 

91-min, 3-game win vs Kenta Nishimoto in QF 

94-min, 3-game win vs Weng Hong Yang in Final

HS Prannoy told Scroll in a season-end interview last year

Sometimes you’re just waiting for years for something big to happen and sometimes a lot of good things come your way consecutively. It’s a thing I’ve learned over time that as a player, you have to try to be happy and content in each moment. Because things can change drastically. It’s about having a good five-six days in a tournament which can entirely change the course of your career. Whenever there have been tough times, I’ve always believed that just one tournament can turn things around. I’m still working on performing consistently. I don’t think I’m there yet, where I can have those solid six-day blocks in a tournament consistently.

This year, there were a lot of times when I was good in the first three-four days of a tournament and probably a little off after that. But I can see the change happening slowly. Hopefully, in the coming year you will see me come good across the six days in more tournaments.

“The one thing which I keep telling the youngsters and the juniors is that everything is not going to be the same, your entire career. Things will be like a rollercoaster ride... you will have a lot of downs, and only a few highs. And there are only a very few players who consistently had only ups in their careers, because they are extraordinary.”

“There were a lot of downs for me... injuries and a lot of other breaks as such. But when I look back, there are so many things that just happened which I never dreamt off. And I think we have to be really grateful to things that have happened and we have to always cherish those moments because only few of them are able to experience that.”

— Prannoy to Scroll after Thomas Cup last year

His last title was a Grand Prix Gold in 2017 (US Open). He has had a few downs since and then came the turnaround in the backend of 2021. There was the Thomas Cup gold, of course. But individual glory took a while. Here is today in 2023, with a BWF World Tour title to his name.
30-year-old HS Prannoy keeps fighting.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 Weng Hong Yang: And the wait is over!

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 19-18 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy floors Weng with a superb down-the-line smash.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 18-18 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy with a couple of nervy rallies... Weng back level.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 18-16 Weng Hong Yang: Perhaps nerves there... a good rally, but Prannoy misses the sidelines by some margin going for the inside-out smash. But he retakes the serve with a good backhand net kill.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 17-15 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy’s big booming smash is defended well but he follows up well enough to close the point.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 16-15 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy knows that it is long, but he reviews it anyway. Close enough but long.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 16-14 Weng Hong Yang: Good judgement but nervy leave by Weng and he closes the gap down to two.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 16-13 Weng Hong Yang: Oh, the finish line is in sight for Prannoy. Can he hold on?

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 14-13 Weng Hong Yang: Oh wow! Prannoy knows this body smash is heading out but he couldn’t dodge just in time. Hands on forehead!

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 14-11 Weng Hong Yang: Terrific body smash from Prannoy and he moves up by 3 again.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 13-10 Weng Hong Yang: There we go, two huge points after the interval, the last one a crosscourt smash winner. Important lead for the Indian.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 11-10 Weng Hong Yang: From a slow start, Prannoy takes a small lead into the final change of ends. This is it for him. A couple of good points here and the pressure will be all on Weng.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 10-10 Weng Hong Yang: POINT OF THE MATCH! Prannoy and Weng with a superb exchange, nearly like a Men’s Doubles match there! And then Prannoy closes it out with a superb net shot. Uff. 10-10 in game 3.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 9-10 Weng Hong Yang: And after making it 9-9 with a nice crosscourt winner, Weng takes the lead at the end of a gruelling rally.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 9-8 Weng Hong Yang: If Prannoy wins this match, this is the phase that won it for him. Superb point, good pace and nice smash to kill.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 8-8 Weng Hong Yang: MARGINS! Weng challenges a line call and it is out just by just a mm or two. Prannoy back within a point and then kills it at the net to make it level.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 6-8 Weng Hong Yang: Superb rally, Prannoy shouldn’t have been in the point for so long, but he is. And then closes it with a superb crosscourt smash.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 5-7 Weng Hong Yang: Short lift from Weng, Prannoy puts the smash away.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 4-7 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy’s shots are just starting to show signs of tiredness.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 3-5 Weng Hong Yang: Couple of wide misses by Prannoy but he comes back well with a good smash. Closes the gap to two. Cannot afford to fall behind.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 2-3 Weng Hong Yang: Uff backhand smash winner from Weng. If he wasn’t on the other side of the net, Prannoy would have possibly enjoyed and applauded that too.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21, 2-2 Weng Hong Yang: Here we go, not surprisingly, Prannoy trying to pump himself up early in Game 3. Couple of really hard-working rallies from both players early on.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-21 Weng Hong Yang: Weng cruised through the final stages and not surprisingly either. A huge phase of the match coming up, whoever starts the decider well is going to have a huge advantage. Prannoy needs to, since he is finishing from the far side.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 13-19 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy closed the gap briefly but the decider is imminent here.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 10-16 Weng Hong Yang: And now Prannoy’s shot quality has dipped and it might be time to conserve for a decider.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 10-14 Weng Hong Yang: The margins are still fine but it is fine on the side of Weng now. Couple of close line calls go his way.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 9-11 Weng Hong Yang: Two fabulous winners from WEng and the Chinese left-hander moves ahead at the interval in the 2nd game.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 9-9 Weng Hong Yang: And Prannoy is back level.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 7-8 Weng Hong Yang: Another great follow-up to a smash from Prannoy. Back within a point.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 6-8 Weng Hong Yang: Another brilliant net exchange and Prannoy gets out of it with a good lift. And ends up winning the point on a net shot from Weng.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 5-8 Weng Hong Yang: Absolutely gorgeous crosscourt slice drop by Weng, catches HSP short. Weng is pulling ahead ever so slightly here. Prannoy might start to enter conservation territory if this continues for the next couple of rallies.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 5-4 Weng Hong Yang: And Prannoy responds to going down 0-4 with five straight points. That rally at 4-4 is so well played! Beautifully constructed rally, Finishes it with a lovely backhand block. The shot quality once again consistently high from Prannoy.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19, 1-4 Weng Hong Yang: A good start from Weng to the 2nd game. Prannoy gets on board with a precise smash down the line.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 21-19 Weng Hong Yang: Game 1, HS Prannoy! Too close to the net from Weng and Prannoy plays a good lift. In a rollercoaster opening game, it is Prannoy who takes the lead. Weng Hong Yang has tested the Indian so far, and this still has the makings of a close one.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 20-19 Weng Hong Yang: Weng’s turn to do the same.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 20-18 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy has moved forward to the net with great effect so far. Another lovely follow-up and he has two game points.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 19-17 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy displaying solid judgement of length. Handy lead here. Weng closes the gap to one and then Prannoy’s turn to win a really close net exchange.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 15-15 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy with a really good crosscourt flick but Weng is so quick to read it and wins the point. Next rally, a short lift from Prannoy. Punished by Weng. We are level quickly as Weng controls the net well.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 15-12 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy is inching ahead in this game. Good pressure from the net again.

Weng Hong Yang, btw, was match points away from going out in the opening round but went on to defeat Kento Momota

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 11-10 Weng Hong Yang: That phrase “anybody’s game” feels fitting at the moment. Impossible to call this in the early stages. Prannoy leads 11-10 at the interval.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 9-9 Weng Hong Yang: Immediate review from Prannoy and he is right, and the next point is a brilliant rally. Patient from both players, moving Weng front and back... and the error comes from the Chinese side

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 7-9 Weng Hong Yang: It’s 7-7 in the opening game and the shot quality has been fabulous so far from both sides. As I type that, a couple of soft errors from Prannoy.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 5-5 Weng Hong Yang: Prannoy is looking to play from as close to the net as possible in the early stages, trying to take control of the frontcourt.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy 3-3 Weng Hong Yang: Early indications that Prannoy will want to finish this quickly if possible, because Weng is fresher and has the younger pair of legs. Both players have started with high shot quality.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy vs Weng Hong Yang: Irrespective of how this final goes... look at the weeks these two have had. One to remember.

Men’s singles final, HS Prannoy vs Weng Hong Yang: OK then, it is HS Prannoy time. He takes on the aggressive left-hander from China, Weng Hong Yang. Prannoy has had a gruelling week, Weng is playing really well too ,having defeated Momota and Ginting on the way here. Here’s hoping for a cracker.

Here’s a look at their profiles:

Time for HS Prannoy.

Women’s doubles final: Tan/Thinaah seem to be feeling the pace of the week they have had.

2.29 pm: Here’s a look at the results of the day so far. In the women’s doubles final, Tan/Thinaah are leading 7-5 in the third game.

2.25 pm: We will, of course, cover the upcoming badminton match with the detail we usually do, but before we begin... a look at what has happened to some of the Olympian wrestlers today in Delhi. Forget, for a brief second, everything else that has happened around these protests and what your opinion of it is. And look at these images. The irony of this Sunday.

The wait prolongs for HS Prannoy. Of course, the women’s doubles final was going to be a marathon one!

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Indian badminton on BWF World Tour. Today our attention is on Malaysia Masters, the Super 500 event

India’s men’s singles No 1 HS Prannoy reached the Malaysia Masters final on Saturday, continuing his fine run in Kuala Lumpur. The circumstances were heartbreaking as he won the semifinal after an unfortunate injury to Indonesia’s Christian Adinata in the first game, the scoreline was 19-17 with Prannoy in the lead.

Today, Prannoy will be hoping to end a long wait for the title on the international circuit. This will be Prannoy’s first final since the Swiss Open 2022. The last title he had won was the US Open in 2017 when it was a Grand Prix Gold.

PV Sindhu’s run, meanwhile, ended in the semifinals as she lost for the second straight time against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.