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Tokyo Olympics: Sai Praneeth loses debut match to lower-ranked Israeli player

Causing an upset, the lower-ranked Misha Zilberman hands Sai Praneeth a sore defeat in the opening Group D Play Stage encounter.

Indian badminton player Sai Praneeth

B Sai Praneeth is a former BWF World Championships medallist. (Photo credit: BWF)


Akankshya Bhuyan

Updated: 24 July 2021 8:05 AM GMT

India's only entrant in this year's Men's Singles event in Badminton at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, World No. 15 B. Sai Praneeth suffered a shock defeat in his debut match in Group D after being handed a defeat at the hands of Israel's World No. 47 player Misha Zilberman in under 42 mins, 17-21, 15-21.

This was their second meeting this year with the first one taking place in the round of 32, at the 2021 Swiss Open where Sai had emerged victorious.

Misha was aggressive from the get go and didn't let Sai take advantage, surprising him with his racquet skills. He was good with the long rallies, keeping his patience and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. He mixed up his smashes with deceiving drop shots to which Sai didn't have any answers to.

The win in the 1st set seemed to have given Misha a lot of confidence as he raced to an 11-7 lead. Zilberman looked far superior and was in control of the game for the majority of the match.

He showed more intent and took the initiative at crunch situations and that proved to be the decisive factor in the outcome of the match. Sai looked out of sorts and made 2 error in judgements which didn't help his cause.

The second set seemed a tad competitive with Sai racing to a 7-3 lead before Misha making a tremendous comeback with his beautiful service game and making the scoreboard 15-8 and finally closing the game at 21-15.

Being Sai's debut at the Olympics, this is a massive learning experience for him. Will Sai be able to sustain Mark Caljouw next?

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