BWF World C'ships 2023: HS Prannoy takes down Viktor Axelsen, Satwik/Chirag out
HS Prannoy defeated World Champion Viktor Axelsen to move to the semi-finals of the BWF World Championships and assure his first-ever medal.
World number 9 HS Prannoy stunned two-time defending world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in a thrilling 68-minute quarterfinal to ensure a medal for India in the World Badminton Championship here on Friday.
In front of a crowd that was chanting 'Viktor, Viktor', HS Prannoy extracted the last bit of energy left in him to fight back from a game down to take down the reigning Olympic champion Axelsen 13-21 21-15 21-16.
Despite an unfavorable 2-7 head-to-head record, Prannoy overcame the local favorite spectacularly to become the fifth-ever Indian male shuttler to earn a medal at the event.
After losing the first game, Prannoy, who had upset 2021 World Champion Loh Kean Yew in the earlier round, came back with intent in the second game and frustrated Axelsen with his cross-court winners.
He also began finding his range with both the forehand and backhand smashes and that instantly put pressure on the Dane, who was found wanting for gaps to score points.
The 49-shot rally to make it 19-14 in the second game not only showed the resilience of Prannoy but also his ability to make the most of the opportunities that came his way.
There were a few nervous moments when Axelsen closed the gap from 6-12 to 14-17 but Prannoy stood his ground and forced errors from his opponents to wrap up the quarterfinal in an hour and eight minutes.
He will now face 3rd seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand.
Earlier in the day, reigning Asian Champions Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were stunned by the home pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen in straight games.
The Indian pair missed out on a consecutive World Championships medal after doing down against the Danish pair 18-21, 19-21.