Star Indian shuttler H. S. Prannoy’s consistent run at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament hit a shocking block as he slipped to a narrow three-game loss against Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus in a mistake-filled men’s singles semifinal here on Saturday, July, 9. It was heartbreak once again in the semifinals for the Indians as he dissipated a one-game advantage to go down 21-17 9-21 17-21 against NG Ka Long after battling for an hour and four minutes at the Axiata Arena here. His loss ended India’s campaign on a low key note.
Long in a battle that lasted for about an hour and four minutes. Heading into the match with a 4-4 career record, 29 year old Prannoy, coming off wins over Ng Ka Long in the last three meets, picked the good side after winning the toss.
Prannoy didn’t try to play at a dazzling pace but focused on forming the rallies and retaliating the weak returns with a pitch-perfect placement. During the break, he even had a four-point advantage. While Ng Ka Long tried to use his smashes to gather momentum in the match, he missed some easy chances, as Prannoy preserved his four-point lead till 17-13.
Prannoy struggled to control the shuttle in drifty conditions while Ng Ka Long showed one on one better execution to keep a firm grip on the rallies. The result of this instance was a six-point advantage at the mid-game interval. With errors piling up and up, Prannoy soon fell far behind in the game and the Indian decided to let go of the second game to save his energy for the decider round.
In the third game, Prannoy once again looked in control of the proceedings initially in the match as he quickly established a 8-3 lead but the Hong Kong player Ng Ka Long then scripted a sensational recovery, winning eight of the next nine points, to enter the interval with an important two-point lead. Earlier the 29 year old, Prannoy stormed into the semi finals by beating World No. 14 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan.
India’s campaign ended with HS Prannoy as shuttlers like PV Sindhu and Parupalli lost their matches on July 8 and July 7 respectively. PV Sindhu’s poor run against Taiwanese shuttler Tai Tzu Ying remained constant as the Indian shuttler lost to the World No. 2 for the 7th successive time on the tour. Sindhu was knocked out from the quarter-final of the Malaysia Masters Super 500 after a three-game battle against the Tai Tzu Ying shuttler on Friday, July 8. Sindhu, who has lost to Tai 17 times in 22 meetings on the tour, has not beaten the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist since their last meeting in the quarter-final of the World Championships in August 2019. On July 7, Parupalli Kashyap bowed out and lost the match to Anthony Ginting. Even shuttlers like Sai Praneeth and Saina Nehwal had early exits from the tournament.