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Badminton: Sai Praneeth wins Silver at Swiss Open Super 300

Badminton: Sai Praneeth wins Silver at Swiss Open Super 300

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Published: 17 March 2019 2:44 PM GMT
India's Sai Praneeth had a wonderful outing at the Swiss Open Super 300 so far. The tournament, however, saw him falter towards the end and he ended up losing 21-19, 18-21, 12-21 to the top seeded World No 2 from China Shi Yu Qi. Sai Praneeth announced his intention in the tournament quite early on. In the semifinals, he defeated reigning Olympic champion Chen Long after a very dominant performance against the World No 5. The match ended with a scoreline of 21-18, 21-13 in his favour which saw him reach the Swiss Open Super 300 final at Basel. This also meant that this was Sai Praneeth's first appearance in a final since his appearance at the 2017 Thailand Open final.
Shi Yuqi was the top seed going into the Swiss Open this year. Sai's dominant performance in all the matches in the tournament certainly provided much needed encouragement for Indian Men's Single's Badminton. Sai's intent to win in the finals was clearly visible. After being tied at 7-7 in the first game, a couple of wonderful examples of attack and defense from the Indian saw him quickly pick up consecutive points to reach 18-13. The Chinese then looked dangerously in line to make a comeback in the game eventually catching up and making it 19-19 before Sai eventually wrapped up the game to win 21-19. It was a close call but the World No 2 Shi Yu Qi now had his work cut out for him. A quick lead by Shi Yu Qi in Game 2 which became equal as Sai Praneeth picked up points to make it 3-3. The see-saw of leads continued in the second game. At around 9-9, Sai gained a lucky point after Shi Yuqi failed to make a timely challenge despite the shuttle from Praneeth being wide. Eventually, Sai led going into the interval at game 2 (11-10).
Image: Screen Grab/Hotstar The second game continued to be nail-bitingly close right till the very end. It was just a case of who would blink first. Shi Yuqi took the game 21-18 and it all boiled down to the final game. The close fight continued in Game 3 as well. Going into break, the Chinese led 11-8. But after that, although Sai picked up a quick point or two after the break, the Chinese led the way with a wonderful comeback. While Sai Praneeth seemed dominant for almost the entirety of the match, the last, decisive bit clearly belonged to Shi Yu Qi who gave no space to Sai at all to catch up. He eventually won 21-12 over the Indian and thus took the match to win Gold at the Swiss open
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