Defending champion PV Sindhu stormed into the final of the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold after beating Busanan Ongbumrungpan of Thailand in the semi-finals. But it was curtains down for World No. 26 HS Prannoy who lost in a hard-fought semi-final encounter to Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong.
Sindhu puts up a brilliant performance
World No. 11 PV Sindhu put up a brilliant performance at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion on Saturday that has given her a shot at defending her crown. She had previously held a 4-0 record against World No. 23 Busanan Ongbumrungpan. Her convincing 21-14, 21-15 victory now enables her to have a 5-0 record over the Thai girl.
Sindhu displays confidence
In the battle of the two talented teenagers, it was the 18-year-old Thai who came out firing on all cylinders to hit the front first. She led 5-2 before Sindhu got into a fine rhythm. Taking the next three points, the double World Championship bronze medallist first equalised at 5-5 and then surged ahead 13-9.
Even though Busanan fought hard and reduced the margin, she could not prevent the confident Sindhu from wrapping up the opener 21-14.
Erratic Busanan in second game
PV Sindhu put up an aggressive display right from the start in the second game to go up 5-1. Busanan calmly fought back though. She caught up with Sindhu at 8-8 and then again at 12-12.
But it was errors at crucial junctures that aided Sindhu in getting a firm grip over the match. After a 42-minute battle, PV Sindhu prevailed over Busanan Ongbumrungpan and made her way into the final.
HS Prannoy battles hard in semi-final loss
22-year-old rising Indian shuttler HS Prannoy waged a fierce battle against the sixth seed Wong Wing Ki Vincent but ultimately lost. Prannoy went down to the Hong Kong player 16-21, 21-16, 12-21.
Error-ridden performance from Prannoy
In the first game, an error-prone Prannoy helped Wong to inch ahead 11-7 by the midgame interval. A determined Prannoy returned after the break and he led briefly 13-11 at one point. But he once again struggled with his movement and some crucial net errors cost him the game 16-21.
Prannoy storms back in second game
The young Pullela Gopichand ward who had won the Indonesian Masters this year would not give up without a fight. Prannoy stormed back into the match with the help of some superb smashes and angular strokes.
That dented the confidence of Wong and the Indian nudged ahead 11-7 and then 18-10. As Wong faded away, Prannoy pocketed the second game 21-16 to take the match into a decider.
Wong is flawless in decider
However, the faint glimmer of hope that Prannoy had, was soon washed out by Wong in the deciding game. Accurate, precise and determined – it was all Wong in the third game and the young Indian simply had no answers.
A fatigued Prannoy struggled with his speed and court coverage handing the advantage back to his opponent. At the mid-game break, Wong had already sailed away to a massive 11-4 lead.
The third-seeded Prannoy did have his moment in the decider, even though briefly. Despite some questionable line calls, Prannoy kept on attacking and closed it out to 12-13.
However, after that the Indian simply ran out of steam as Wong gained more and more in confidence. He started extending the rallies with the aim of tiring Prannoy out. The tactic worked effectively as the Hong Kong shuttler shut out the match after an hour-long battle.
HS Prannoy is a quick learner and has been steadily climbing up the rankings for the past few weeks. The spirited youngster may have lost in the semi-finals but the experience will surely hold him in good stead to break into the top 20 soon.
As for PV Sindhu, she is once again, performing like a champion and we hope she is successful in defending the Macau Open title.