File photo by HS Prannoy.©UKTN
India’s HS Prannoy continued his impressive run by advancing to the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 badminton tournament with a straight victory over world number 13 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in Jakarta on Friday. Just over a month after his heroic win over Gemke in the decisive fifth game against Denmark that secured India’s entry into the Thomas Cup final, Prannoy produced another finely crafted performance to thwart the Danish world number 13 21-14 21-12 in a 40-minute quarter-final.
This is the second semi-final appearance for world number 23 Prannoy at the event in Indonesia.
He had reached the last four of the 2017 edition in which he stunned former Olympic gold medalist Chen Long and Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei en route to the semi-finals.
Prannoy, who reached the final of the Swiss Open Super 300 in March, will next face China’s Zhao Jun Peng.
Going into the match with a 2-2 head-to-head count, Prannoy made no mistake playing angled cross shots and reverse slices wisely to keep a firm grip on the game.
The match saw short exchanges with Gemke hampered by a knee problem. Prannoy waited for his opponent to make mistakes and unleashed his attacking returns whenever he had the chance.
The result was that Prannoy galloped to a 5-0 lead before entering the break with an 11-7 cushion. He kept things under control to lead the opener all the way.
In the end, a service foul gave the Indian a six-game-point chance and he sealed it with a smash on the corner of his rival’s forehand.
The first half of game two was a rollercoaster ride as Gemke produced a superb fightback. He started moving well and recovered at 6-6 with a smash after falling 3-6 down at the start.
Prannoy kept the pressure on his opponent but Gemke equalized again at 9-9 with a quick shot to the net but the Indian secured a two-point cushion in the interval.
Prannoy continued to dominate the rallies after the break as his precise returns from his rival’s forehand and backhand earned him points. A similar shot took the Indian to eight match points and he converted it with Gemke returning to the net.
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