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Praneeth first Indian male shuttler to win World C'ships medal in 36 years

Last updated on: August 23, 2019 21:04 IST

Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men's singles World Championships medal -- a bronze -- in the 1983 edition.

B Sai Praneeth

IMAGE: World No. 19 B Sai Praneeth outclassed Asian Games gold medallist and world No. 4 Jonatan Christie in the quarter-finals. Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

B Sai Praneeth became the first Indian male shuttler in 36 years to secure a medal in the World Badminton Championships after a straight-games victory over Indonesia's Jonatan Christie propelled him into the semi-finals, in Basel, on Friday.

 

The world No. 19 Indian, who was conferred the Arjuna award earlier this year, defeated the Asian Games gold medallist and world No. 4 Jonatan 24-22, 21-14 in the quarter-finals.

Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men's singles World Championships medal -- a bronze -- in the 1983 edition.

Praneeth, who won the Singapore Open in 2017 and finished runner-up at Swiss Open earlier this year, came into the tournament with a 1-2 head-to-head count against the Indonesian.

In the opening game, he raced to a 8-4 lead, but Jonatan stepped up and drew parity at 10 before Praneeth took a 11-10 advantage at the break with the help of a delicate shot at the net.

The duo continued their battle after the breather as Jonatan kept breathing down the Indian's neck.

Praneeth eventually grabbed game point at 20-19 with a cross-court smash at the back, but Jonatan turned tables and enjoyed a game point himself.

However, Praneeth ensured he had the last laugh, unleashing a powerful smash, which the Indonesian returned wide. Then his rival's weak return got buried into the net.

Praneeth missed the shuttle at the backline to concede a point but grabbed the required two points -- the last one with a cross-court smash -- to pocket the opening game.

The second game turned out to be one-way traffic as Praneeth came out with all cylinders blazing, first surging to a 7-1 lead, and then a massive 11-3 advantage at the break.

Jonatan narrowed the gap to 12-15 but the Indian stepped up to grab six match-points, punishing a weak return and then shutting the door on Jonatan, who went wide.

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