India’s H S Prannoy registered his second successive victory over former world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia to reach the men’s singles quarterfinals of the Denmark Superseries Premier badminton tournament at Odense on Thursday.
The world number 14 Indian, who had first defeated the two-time Danish Open champion Chong Wei in Indonesia in June, came up triumphs 21-17, 11-21, 21-19 in an hour and three minutes on Thursday and will now face the winner of the match between world number one Son Wan Ho of Korea and local hope Anders Antonsen.
Prannoy wasn’t at his best through out the 63 minute encounter and would definitely be unhappy with the number of unforced errors he made in the match. But what ultimately matters is the fact that the 25-year-old could keep his composure in crunch situations to master the Malaysian.
The Indian began well as he not only matched Chong Wei stroke for stroke but also managed to open up a 9-6 lead in the opening game. But the world number 7 Malaysian soon caught up and had a slight advantage till the business end of the opening game when Prannoy first bagged three straight points to open up a 18-15 lead and then stitched another three point sequence to clinch the game 21-17.
But Chong Wei responded in his trademark aggressive style as he played quick rallies while Prannoy struggled to control the shuttle from the more difficult side of the court and seemed to give up once the Malaysian opened up a sizeable lead.
The decider was a closely fought affair in the first half as Prannoy ensured that Chong Wei never ran away with the lead. And had it not been for an over-sight by the chair umpire who did not spot the Malaysian’s racket touching the net, the Indian would have gone into the interval with one point advantage instead of a 10-11 scoreline.
Chong Wei won two quick points after the change of ends to open up a three point lead. But Prannoy was more prepared for the conditions this time around and started to push the pace. He forced the former world number one in committing a flurry of unforced errors and picked eight straight points to take a 18-13 lead.
He did drop guard thereafter to allow Chong Wei to equalise at 19-19 but a cross court smash gave him his first match point and he then dominated a fast paced rally to find a winner with a backhand clear to seal the match.