Jakarta (Indonesia): India’s campaign at the Indonesia Open 2022 came to an end after HS Prannoy lost 16-21, 15-21 to Chinas Zhao Junpeng in the men’s singles semifinals at the Istoria Stadium, here on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Prannoy was the lone Indian badminton player left in the BWF Super 1000 event after most of the shuttlers, including top names like PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth had made early exits.
Though the match started with some engaging rallies, Prannoy, the world No. 23 in the world badminton rankings lost the plot as the Chinese shuttler, ranked 12 places below him, managed to negate the Indian’s strong net game early. By the time Prannoy finally managed to find a foothold in the contest, Junpeng had already taken a handy lead and proceeded to wrap up the first game comfortably.
In the second game, the Indian did a lot better to keep pace with his Chinese counterpart. But with the score at 7-7, Zhao Junpeng broke free and won the next five points to open up a lead.
Prannoy, who had beaten Lakshya Sen and Rasmus Gemke en route to the semis, was always playing catch up from there on as Junpeng proceeded to wrap up the match in 40 minutes despite the Indian shuttler putting up a late final stand by saving three match points .
This was the first head-to-head match between the two players.
Junpeng, who beat Hong Kong shuttler Cheuk Yiu Lee in his final-eight clash, will face reigning Olympic champion and world No. 1, Viktor Axelsen, in the final. It will be Junpeng’s first men’s singles summit clash on the BWF Tour.
Axelsen beat Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, a former All-England champion 19-21, 21-11, 23-21 in the other semifinal.