Sindhu, Prannoy enter Swiss Open final; Srikanth loses

PTI, Mar 27, 2022, 8:44 AM IST

Srikanth, Sindhu and Prannoy (Source: AFP / BAI images via Scroll)

Basel: Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu and HS Prannoy dished out scintillating performances to make their way to the women’s and men’s singles finals respectively at the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament here on Saturday.

World No. 7 Sindhu prevailed 21-18 15-21 21-19 over Thailand’s Supanida Katethong in a 79-minute women’s singles semifinal to make her second successive final after Prannoy eked out a hard-fought 21-19 19-21 21-18 win over Indonesia’s world number 5 Anthony Sinisuka  Ginting for his first summit clash in five years.

Sindhu, seeded second, will face another Thai player and fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the summit clash, while Prannoy, who had last won the US Open in 2017, will take on Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie in the men’s singles final, on Sunday.

Kidambi Srikanth, the World Championships silver medallist, squandered an opening game advantage to go down 21-18 7-21 13-21 to Asian Games champion Christie of Indonesia in the other semifinals.

In the final, Prannoy will fancy his chances as he has beaten Christie thrice while losing four times in the last seven meetings. On the other hand, Sindhu will start as favorite against Busanan, whom she has defeated an overwhelming 15 times in 16 meetings so far.

Sindhu and world number 29 Supanida had shared the spoils in the two meetings this year and the Indian showed great nerves against the fighting Thai to come out unscathed in the semifinals.

In the opening game, Sindhu, who had won the Syed Modi International in January, used the court well, producing her smashes and follow-up shots to gather points. Supanida tried to stay in the rallies but she couldn’t finish them.

At the first break, Sindhu had a three-point advantage and she swelled it to 15-7 with a run of four points. The left-handed Thai tried to attack and dominate the rallies to narrow the deficit to 13-18.

However, she was not consistent enough as Sindhu grabbed five game points when the Thai went long.

The Indian found the net next, while Supanida grabbed two more points before smashing one at the nets to allow the Indian take the opening game.

Supanida continued her momentum after the change of sides, running up a 16-7 lead with Sindhu struggling against the deceptions of the Thai player, who eventually roared back into the contest when Sindhu went to the nets.

The Hyderabadi shuttler came back strongly in the decider, gaining a 4-1 lead but Supanida once again clawed her way to draw parity at 7-7 with a smash.

Both the shuttlers tried to take control of the front court with Sindhu managing to take a one-point lead in the final interval.

Sindhu stepped up the pace in the rallies to move to 16-13 but Supanida reeled off five straight points to surpass the Indian. It was soon 18-18 with Supanida going wide.

A lucky net chord helped Sindhu move to 19-19 as she held the match point with a smash and she sealed it with another powerful smash.

Earlier, former world number 8 Prannoy, who has been battling health issues after being diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease in 2018 and COVID-19 in 2019, showed great resilience against Ginting.

Prannoy, currently ranked 26th, grabbed the initiative early and held a 6-3 lead which was quickly erased by Ginting to move to a 12-19 advantage at one stage.

A five-point burst gave Prannoy a slender two-point lead and he maintained it till 18-16 before a net error and a service fault helped his rival to level par.

Ginting, however, went to net twice himself to hand over Prannoy a game point and the Indian sealed it with a precise return on his rival’s frontcourt.

After a tight battle in the second game, it was Ginting who grabbed a three-point lead at the interval following a couple of errors from the Indian at the net and frontcourt.

The Indian fought his way back to 18-19 but a judgment error at the backline gave one game point to Ginting, who squandered one with a net error before Prannoy smashed out to allow his rival to make a comeback.

In the decider, Prannoy took a 8-5 lead and increased it to 14-8 but he stumbled to a series of errors to allow Ginting make it 15-19. The Indian eventually unleashed a smash to grab four match points. He squandered two before entering the finals with another precise return.

“Yessssss ! Finals of the Swiss Open ! Quite a tough one against Ginting tonight! Happy to get that win today. One more to go, Let’s get it,” Prannoy tweeted after the match.

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