Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth feels clinching a maiden Grand Prix crown at the Canada Open has boosted his confidence and said he is not far away from winning a big title.
The 23-year-old has been plagued by injuries and indifferent form and has been making early exits from tournaments for quite a few years.
He had occasional burst of brilliance from time to time like when he stunned 2003 All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia at Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in 2013 or ruined the farewell party of Indonesian great Taufik Hidayat in Indonesia Open in 2013.
In fact, at the All England Championships this year, Praneeth had defeated two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the first round. However, despite all these sparks of excellence, a title had always eluded him.
But Sunday night, all that changed as the Andhra Pradesh lad thrashed Korea’s Lee Hyun Il 21-12 21-10 in a lop-sided final to stand at the podium with his maiden Grand Prix crown.
“I never expected the final to be so easy but I am happy the way I played. I’m happy that I won the tournament and beating Lee Hun Il gives me a lot of confidence going ahead. I I think I played well in this tournament,” he told PTI.
“It doesn’t change any targets as my target is to win something big and I know I’m not too far from that in terms of capability,” he added.
Brimming with confidence after the win, Praneeth has now set his eyes on the USD 120,000 US Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament.
Praneeth will start his campaign against Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen.
” I haven’t played him before. But I am looking forward to the match,” he said.