Tue, 07 Feb 2023

Bangkok [Thailand], December 8 (ANI): India's ace shuttler HS Prannoy suffered his second defeat against Chinese player Lu Guang Zu in Group A of the men's singles match of the BWF World Tour Finals 2022 in Bangkok on Thursday.

Kodai Naraoka of Japan defeated Prannoy in his first match of the mega tournament on Wednesday. Even if the third-seeded Indian badminton player defeats Tokyo 2020 winner Viktor Axelsen in the last group match on Friday, the back-to-back losses will not allow him to advance to the semi-finals. Only two players will advance to the final four from the two groups.

HS Prannoy, who is ranked 12th in the world in badminton, began the match with his right knee heavily strapped. Despite leading in the third game against world No. 17 Lu Guang Zu, he was unable to maintain the momentum and ultimately lost 21-23, 21-17 and 19-21 in an hour and 24 minutes.

The first game featured lengthy rallies between HS Prannoy and Lu Guang Zu, with the latter leading 11-9 at the half. After mounting a comeback to take the lead at 19-16, HS Prannoy was unable to keep up the pressure on his opponent and gave up seven of the final nine points.

The Indian shuttler was down 11-10 at the second break after falling behind once more, but he recovered and smashed victories close to the lines to force a decider.

After falling behind 10-14 in the final, HS Prannoy produced a comeback by pushing ahead to 19-18. However, the Indian badminton player made unforced errors in the contest's pivotal moments, allowing Lu Guang Zu to score the final three points and win the match and advance to the next round.

This was HS Prannoy's second defeat against the Chinese shuttler, who is 26 years old. The 30-year-old HS Prannoy was defeated by Lu Guang Zu at the French Open round of 16 in October.

Friday's last group match pits world number one Viktor Axelsen against HS Prannoy.

Due to an ankle injury, PV Sindhu was forced to withdraw from the BWF World Tour Finals. She won the women's singles title in 2018 and is the only shuttler from India to take home a medal in the history of the tournament. (ANI)

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