Saturday, April 1, 2023

BWF World Tour Finals: HS Prannoy loses to Japan’s Naraoka in opener

Ace Indian badminton player HS Prannoy lost to Kodai Naraoka of Japan in his opening men’s singles group A match of the BWF World Tour Finals 2022, here on Wednesday.
Prannoy, 12th in the badminton world rankings, went down to the world No. 14 Japanese shuttler 12-21, 21-9, 17-21 in a clash, which lasted exactly one hour.
The 30-year-old Indian was playing with a strapping on the right knee and made a tentative start to the match while Naraoka was much quicker and led Prannoy 11-6 at the break. Eventually, Naraoka exploited Prannoy’s lack of movement by making back-and-forth placements and took the 1-0 lead.
Prannoy countered his opponent in the second game by playing more at the net. The tactic helped him win seven points on the trot after being tied at 3-3 and then level the match 1-1.
The Indian badminton player stepped up his attacks and started the decider leading 7-5. However, Naraoka’s cross-court shots from the net helped him go into the break with an 11-9 lead.
Despite not being able to take the lead, Indian equalised thrice after the change of ends in the decider. However, Prannoy’s three unforced errors after the game was tied at 17-17 saw Kodai Naraoka win the game and match.
This was Prannoy’s second loss against the 21-year-old Naraoka. The Indian shuttler was beaten by the young Japanese in the quarter-finals of the Singapore Open 2022 in three games.
Prannoy will play world No. 17 Lu Guang Zu on Thursday before facing off against Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in his final group match on Friday. The top two players from the group will advance to the semi-finals.


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