File image of HS Prannoy.© AFP
India’s HS Prannoy continued his impressive streak as he sailed into the semifinals of the Indonesian Open Super 1000 badminton tournament on Friday in Jakarta with a straight-games win over world No. 13 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in Jakarta. Just over a month after his heroic victory over Gemke in the decisive fifth rubber game against Denmark, which saw India enter the Thomas Cup final, Prannoy produced another beautifully executed performance to take the Danish world number 13 21-14 21-12 outsmarting in a 40-minute quarter-final match.
It is the second semifinal of Prannoy, number 23 in the world, at the event in Indonesia.
He had made it to the last four in the 2017 edition, stunning former Olympic gold medalist Chen Long and Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei en route to the semi-finals.
Prannoy, who had reached the final of the Swiss Open Super 300 in March, will then take on the Chinese Zhao Jun Peng.
Prannoy entered the game with a 2-2 head-to-head count and didn’t put a foot wrong as he played a number of oblique cross court shots and reverse slices with a good result to keep a firm grip on the game .
The race had short rallies in which Gemke suffered from a knee problem. Prannoy waited for his opponent to make mistakes and unleashed his offensive returns when the opportunity presented itself.
As a result, Prannoy galloped to a 5-0 lead before going into the break with an 11-7 tie. He kept things under control and led the entire first game.
In the end, a service foul gave the Indian a six game point shot, which he sealed with a smash into his rival’s forehand corner.
The first half of the second game was a rollercoaster ride as Gemke produced an excellent kickback. He started to move well and scrambled back at 6-6 with a smash after initially trailing 3-6.
Prannoy kept his opponent under pressure, but Gemke again pulled parity at 9-9 with a prompt net shot, but the Indian provided a two-point tie at the break.
Prannoy continued to dominate the rallies after the break as his precise returns on his rival’s forehand and backhand netted him points. A similar shot took the Indian to eight match points and he converted it with Gemke’s return into the net.
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