Indonesia Open: Kerala Shuttler HS Prannoy Enters Semi-Finals 

Jakarta: Kerala shuttler H.S. Prannoy entered the semi-finals of the Indonesia Super Series Premier here today. He defeated Olympic champion Chen Long  21-18, 16-21, 21-19. Prannoy had a 0-3 win-loss record against Long going into the quarter-finals, and improved that to 1-3 in an intense encounter with the world No 8.

This is the first time that Prannoy has advanced to the semi-finals of a Superseries event. He will face the winner of the match between Kazumasa Sakai and Rajiv Ouseph in the semi-finals.

World Champion Chen was the first to serve and he looked comfortable from the outset as he opened up a 4-2 lead with a mixture of sturdy defence and powerful smashes. However, Prannoy fought back and won five points in a row to lead 7-4 as Chen struggled with the drift and pushed a couple of returns wide.

The 28-year-old Chinese player got both his challenges wrong as Prannoy led 11-7 at the changeover after a successful challenge gave him a four point lead at 10-4. Prannoy, who climbed four places to 25th in the world rankings on Thursday, increased the lead to six points at 17-11 as Chen continued to be error-prone.

Prannoy had five game point opportunities in the first game after a backhand lift down the line and won the first game 21-18 in 23 minutes.

Yesterday, Prannoy thrashed World No. Three Lee Chong Wei in straight games to enter quarterfinals of the tournament. Prannoy, who is seeded at 25th position, took only 40 minutes to stun the Olympic silver medallist from Malaysia 21-10, 21-18.

Meanwhile, another Indian player Kidambi Srikanth beat the world No 19 Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-14. Today was the 24-year-old’s second win in as many games over Wang, who had ousted Lin Dan in the first round of the tournament.

Srikanth defeated fourth seeded Jan O Jorgensen from Denmark 21-15, 20-22, 21-16 to enter the quarter-finals.