In June this year, HS Prannoy had defeated former world no 1 Lee Chong Wei and Rio Olympic gold medallist Chen Long in successive matches in the Indonesia Open and was within sniffing distance of reaching his major Superseries final. But, the 25-year-old squandered five match points in the semi-finals against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai and those memories still haunt the Indian shuttler.
It was evident in the way Prannoy reacted to a question about his chances in the Denmark Superseries Premier after the world no 14 once again upset two-time champion Chong Wei in three games to book a quarter-finals berth on Thursday. “I am not thinking much ahead as I have done this before but couldn’t win the title so I will just look at the next match,” Prannoy told reporters after the match.
The 25-year-old will face top seed Wan Son Ho of Korea, against whom he has a 1-2 head-to-head record going into the last eight. Speaking about his pre-quarterfinal encounter against Chong Wei, Prannoy said a couple of good serves in the decider while trailing 10-13 changed the game for him, and his game plan of not allowing the Malaysian to dominate the net worked wonderfully well in the decider.
“The basic plan was just to be ready for his speed and to be quick on my feet. He’s capable of playing fast at any time. I was sluggish at the net; he was getting a chance play the net and get the big hit. In the third, I didn’t give him that chance and that was the one thing that changed the match,” he was quoted as saying by the official BWF website.
“I have extremely high respect for him (Chong Wei) – at his age he’s able to play at a high pace. I think he’s slowed a bit since his best years; but he’s still got the touch; only he and Lin Dan can play so well under any conditions,” he added.