HS Prannoy loses to Weng Hong Yang in Australian Open

Ace Indian badminton player HS Prannoy lost to China's Weng Hong Yang 9-21, 23-21, 20-22 in a thrilling Australian Open 2023 men's singles final.

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Ace Indian badminton player HS Prannoy lost to China’s Weng Hong Yang 9-21, 23-21, 20-22 in a thrilling Australian Open 2023 men’s singles final, here on 6 August.

HS Prannoy, world No. 9 in the badminton rankings, was aiming to win his second BWF World Tour title after his maiden triumph at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 in May. Incidentally, Prannoy had beaten Weng Hong Yang in the Malaysia Masters final.

World No. 24 Weng Hong Yang started the match on the front foot but Prannoy used his experience well to stay on the Chinese shuttler’s heels.

However, with the scores level at 5-all, Yang pulled away to build up a five-point lead heading into the first break. After the restart, Yang clicked into a higher gear and raced away to take the game.

In the second game, the Chinese shuttler took the momentum and looked to be cruising but Prannoy came back into the game and managed to take a three-point lead into the break. Yang, though, hit right back to draw level at 15-15, setting up a scramble to the finish line.

The momentum swung constantly between the two finalists before the Indian just about edged the thriller of a game to set up a decider.

After a tight start to the deciding game, Prannoy began to pull away and made full use of the young Chinese player’s unforced errors to build up a 19-14 lead. However, Yang dug deep and picked up five consecutive points to draw parity.

A 71-shot rally when the score was 19-18 turned the tide in the Chinese player’s favour. Under pressure, HS Prannoy squandered a championship point before eventually conceding the 90-minute-long marathon contest. It was Yang’s first win over the Indian.

Next up on the badminton calendar is the world championships, starting August 21 in Copenhagen.

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