HS Prannoy wins Malaysia Masters 2023 title, ends six-year-long waittext_fields
Indian player HS Prannoy defeated China's Weng Hong Yang in the men's singles finals at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament on Sunday. It is after six years an Indian shuttler is winning the title.
The 30-year-old engaged in a 94-minute game to score a 21-19 13-21 21-18 victory against world number 34 who also happens to be the 2022 Asian Championships bronze medalist. This is Prannoy's maiden BWF World Tour title.
The Kerala athlete played a crucial role in India's epic Thomas Cup victory in 2022 but hasn't yet won an individual title since the 2017 US Open Grand Prix Gold. He came close last year at the Swiss Open when he reached the finals.
HS Prannoy has been the most consistent player India has in the recent past and he fought a series of injuries and health issues before coming back at the end of 2021.
He used his angled returns to create chances and economic court mobility to keep pace with the left-handed opponent.
From 1-3 down, he drew parity at 5-5 after lunging forward to put the shuttle away from Weng. The Chinese stepped ahead but two wide shots meant it was 7-7. Prannoy would, at times, end rallies with a miscued shot at the net, allowing his younger rival to get into leads. A precise down-the-line smash brought the Indian back at 10-10 before Weng smashed on the net, reported PTI.
Prannoy kept a conservative approach as the rallies extended. Soon the duo moved to 16-16. After missing out on a few net shots, Prannoy grabbed a couple of points before a relentless attack earned him two game points. Weng next sent his backhand to the net, as Prannoy earned the bragging rights. After the change of sides, Weng was 4-0 up after Prannoy went for a flashy return at the net and also hit long twice. A big smash followed by a backhand snapshot got Prannoy going as he moved to a 5-4 lead with a superb backhand block, added the outlet.
They grabbed an 11-9 cushion at the interval. Then the game turned in Weng's favour with 16-10. In the third game, Weng held on to his momentum even as Prannoy kept snapping at his feet at 6-8. A net kill helped the Indian draw level at 8-8 before Weng ended an exciting rally with a smash. Another splendid rally ended with Prannoy producing another superlative shot at the net to bamboozle his opponent, as he went into the mid-game interval with a slender one-point lead.
After resumption, Prannoy unleashed his cross-court smashes to move to 14-11. Weng produced a precise smash and then targeted his rival's body twice to narrow it down to 13-14. Prannoy let out a loud cry after a cross-court smash, opening up a 16-13 lead. After Prannoy missed the line a few times, Weng made it to 18-18.
After another magical smash, Prannoy got two points and he converted it after his opponent hit wide.