Birmingham: H.S. Prannoy went down fighting to China’s Huang Yuxiang in the men singles quarterfinals at the $1,000,000 All England Championship.
A miscued smash from the Indian ended the gruelling contest, where fortunes swung frequently.
Prannoy lost 22-20, 16-21, 21-23 in an hour and 17 minutes at Birmingham on Friday night. Locked 20-20 in the third set, Prannoy’s smash, with his opponent down on the floor, crashed in the net.
“That was one shot that I really should have got in,” said Prannoy after the loss. “There are matches where you really don’t know what to do to get that one big point. It’s really disappointing. One point does big things in your life. I’m really disappointed to have not made the semi-finals here. It’s one of my big dreams to do so one day,” he said.
Up against an opponent who had beaten 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph and Kidambi Srikanth in the last two days, Prannoy never let his guard down. Prannoy was aggressive from the start. But lost the crucial points to go down narrowly.
Lin beats Lee
Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic champion, turned the clock back for one magical hour as he ended the title defence of his career-long rival Lee Chong Wei in the quarterfinals.
The 34-year-old Chinese player beat the 35-year-old Malaysian 21-16, 21-17, though their light-footed movements would have made it impossible for outsiders to guess their ages.
Lee attacked more than usual to try to nullify the attacking threat of Lin, and managed to squeeze in front at 16-15 in the first game and 13-10 in second.
But Lin showed just why he has made himself many people’s favourite for his seventh All-England title, making brilliant surges during most crucial phases of both games.