Indian badminton player HS Prannoy ousted world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen to make the men’s singles semi-finals at the BWF World Badminton Championships 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday.Reaching the final four ensures a medal for HS Prannoy at the global meet as both losing semi-finalists are awarded bronze medals at the badminton world championships. This will be India’s 14th medal at the BWF World Championships.World No. 9 HS Prannoy beat the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and 2022 world champion 13-21, 21-15, 21-16 in the quarter-final match at the Royal Arena.
India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, the world No. 2 men’s doubles pair, however, suffered a 21-18, 21-19 defeat at the hands of Denmark’s Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in their last eight encounter.
Buoyed by the home crowd, defending champion Viktor Axelsen dominated HS Prannoy early on and led 11-5 at the first break. As the game progressed, HS Prannoy found his footing and put on a solid defence to stay in the match. But the Dane’s superior net play saw him win four consecutive points to close out the first game.
HS Prannoy found his rhythm early in the second game and took the game to the reigning Olympic champion. Viktor Axelsen tried hard to get back into the match but the Indian shuttler maintained control over the proceedings and forced a decider.
HS Prannoy carried the momentum into the third game and raced to a 14-10 lead. The Indian badminton player put on a solid defence and kept a firm grip on the match to win the encounter and book a place in the final four.
“The only thing which is in my control is me. I was not really thinking about what’s happening around me. I was pretty much in the zone after the second game and (for matches like these) you need to be in the zone because otherwise the game will just get away from you,” HS Prannoy said after his come-from-behind victory.
It was HS Prannoy’s third win over the Danish shuttler in 10 meetings. Heading into Friday’s encounter, the Indian came out second best in both meetings against Axelsen this year – first in the Indonesia Open semi-finals and then in the quarters of the Japan Open.
HS Prannoy will play Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn next for a place in the final.After Chirag-Satwik’s exit, HS Prannoy is India’s only challenge remaining at the BWF World Badminton Championships 2023.
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