24 February 2024
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HS Prannoy on Friday assured himself of a first BWF Badminton World Championships medal after beating defending champion and world No 1 Viktor Axelsen 13-21 21-15 21-16 in the men’s singles quarter-final in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The men’s doubles world No 2 pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty bowed out in the quarter-final stage, losing in straight games 18-21 19-21 to home favourites Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen.

Prannoy is now the only Indian left in the World Championships and he will become the fifth men’s singles player to win a Worlds medal after Prakash Padukone (bronze in 1983), B Sai Praneeth (bronze in 2019), Kidambi Srikanth (silver in 2021) and Lakshya Sen (bronze in 2021).

Prannoy came into the tie as the underdog not just because Axelsen was playing in front of his home crowd, but also because he was yet to drop a game in nine World Championships matches.

It was a difficult start for Prannoy with the world No 1 winning seven straight points to take a commanding 9-2 lead in the opening game. Axelsen looked fresh and Prannoy was unable to match up to his level, looking slightly sluggish and having his left shoulder heavily strapped.

As the two players headed into the interval…

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Abdul Gh Lone