Prannoy clinches maiden Asian Games bronze


An error-prone HS Prannoy signed off with an Asian Games bronze, India’s first medal in men’s singles in 41 years, after going down in straight games to reigning All England champion, China’s Li Shi Feng, in the semifinals here on Friday.
The World No.7 Indian, who is playing with a back niggle, committed too many unforced errors to go down 16-21 9-21 against the home favourite and world No. 8 Li in a 51-minute contest. It was India’s second medal in men’s singles since Syed Modi claimed a bronze in the 1982 edition in New Delhi.
Prannoy was also part of the silver medal-winning Indian men’s team last week.
The 31-year-old from Thiruvananthapuram made a good start but lost the plot midway through the opening game, mainly due to the errors he committed while looking for precision in his return, going wide and long in the process.
Prannoy focussed on constructing his rallies, using his drops to good use to lead 3-1. He mixed his shots well, shying away from smashes and instead using tosses to pin his opponent to the baseline. Li tried to step up the pace and drew parity 5-5. The Indian then used his smash to get a point and soon moved to 8-5. He produced a forehand deceptive return to go to 9-7.
However, looking for precision, Prannoy missed the lines on the flank a few times to allow the Chinese to recover. Li made it 10-10 before a deceptive drop gave Prannoy a one-point cushion. He led 13-11 when things started turning, as Li made it 15-14 with Prannoy erring.