Srikanth survives Hong Kong Open scare while Prannoy bows out
India’s Srikanth Kidambi had to battle past a determined compatriot in Sourabh Verama while HS Prannoy endured a rather below-par day at the 2019 Hong Kong Open Super 500, bowing out of the competition following a straight-games loss to world number six Jonatan Christie of Indonesia.
The Indian shuttler barely seemed to find his rhythm in a match that lasted for just under 40 minutes as he lost the tie 12-21, 19-21.
Prannoy was quick to get off the blocks against the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist. Banking on his quick returns, the Indian ensured that he barely gave his opponent enough time to react and raced a 4-1 lead after the initial exchange.
But Christie was quick to alter his gameplan as he used the width of the court to his benefit and pushed the shuttle away, making Prannoy work harder for his returns. While the Indian managed a few, he was found wanting more often than not, as the Indonesian raced to an 11-7 lead by the mid-game interval.
Post the break, Christie ensured that there was no way back for Prannoy as he dominated the proceedings with his smart shot selections and precise smashes while the Indian’s struggle with the drift made it easier for him to take the opening game in no time.
Down by a game, Prannoy looked determined to make amends and take the match to Christie. Mixing his shots well, the 27-year-old ensured the Indonesian was not allowed any opening to assert his supremacy, racing to a 8-3 lead in no time.
But just when it seemed that the Indian would build on his promising start, it started to fall apart. Christie clawed his way back into the tie and Prannoy went into the mid-game interval with a slender 11-9 lead.
The lead, however, didn’t stand for long as the Indonesian was once again back on top. And even though Prannoy tried his best to find a way back, Christie ensured that he didn’t grant his opponent any leeway before closing the match 21-19.
Meanwhile, on the adjacent court, Srikanth fought his way past a tough Verma to book his place in Friday’s quarterfinals.
The world number 13 Srikanth took the opening game 21-11 before losing the second 15-21. However, he kept his composure to see out his compatriot Verma 21-19 in the third to win the match.