IMAGE: HS Prannoy will next face China’s Zhao Jun Peng. Photograph: BAI/Twitter
India’s HS Prannoy continued his impressive run as he sailed into the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 badminton tournament with a straight-game win over world number 13 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in Jakarta on Friday.
A little over a month after his heroic win over Gemke in the decisive fifth rubber against Denmark which ensured India’s entry into the Thomas Cup final, Prannoy produced yet another finely-crafted performance to outwit Gemke 21-14, 21-12 in a 40-minute quarterfinal clash.
It is the second semifinal appearance for world number 23 Prannoy at the Indonesia event.
He had reached the last four in the 2017 edition during which he had stunned former Olympic gold medallist Chen Long and Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei on way to the semifinals.
Prannoy, who had reached the Swiss Open Super 300 final in March, will next face China’s Zhao Jun Peng.
Coming into the match with a 2-2 head-to-head count, Prannoy didn’t put a foot wrong as he played some angled cross court shots and reverse slices to good effect to keep a firm grip on the match.
The match saw short rallies with Gemke bothered by a knee issue. Prannoy waited for his opponent to make mistakes and unleashed his attacking returns whenever there was an opportunity.
The result was Prannoy galloped to a 5-0 lead before entering the break with a 11-7 cushion. He kept things under check to led the first game all throughout.
In the end, a service fault handed the Indian six game point opportunity and he sealed it with a smash on his rival’s forehand corner.
The first half of the second game was a roller-coaster ride as Gemke produced a superb fightback. He started moving well and clawed back at 6-6 with a smash after lagging 3-6 initially.
Prannoy kept the pressure on his opponent but Gemke again drew parity at 9-9 with a prompt net shot but the Indian ensured a two-point cushion at the interval.
Prannoy continued to dominate the rallies after the break as his precise returns on his rival’s forehand and backhand earned him points. A similar shot took the Indian to eight match points and he converted it with Gemke’s return hitting the net.