Young Indian shuttler H S Prannoy clinched the maiden title of his career after winning the Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold, following his straight-game victory over Firman Abdul Kholik in the finals on Sunday. In a 43-minute battle, fifth seed Prannoy, who finished runners-up at the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hochiminh City last week, got the better of qualifier Firman 21-11, 22-20 in the men’s singles competition.
The 22-year-old Prannoy dished out a dominating performance in the opening game as he opened up a 6-2 lead early on and then kept increasing the distance. He then reeling off five straight points to take a lead 1-0 at the GOR Jakabaring stadium.
Firman regrouped himself in the second and moved 5-3 up but Prannoy fought back at 6-6 and grabbed a slender 9-7 lead. The Indonesian once again surged ahead to 12-9 and thereafter it was a gruelling battle, but Prannoy managed to earned a four-match point.
However, Firman clawed back with four straight points to draw level at 20-20. Prannoy then dug deep to reel off the next two points to seal the door on his opponent and celebrate his first title victory.
Prannoy won a silver medal in Boys’ singles at 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.
Prannoy said keeping an uncluttered mind helped him finish on top. “I am really happy with the win. I never thought could win a Grand Prix gold title. I was really upset after losing in Vietnam. But I thought I will take one match at a time here and it started working,” he said. “My body was tired but I pushed myself each day and was confident of beating him but nervous too,” he added.
Prannoy said he ensured a tough semi-final match. “I knew if I stick to basics and not think about winning, it will pay off. The semifinal was a tough one but I played smartly,” he said.
National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand says he has a lot of hope on Prannoy. “I think it is really wonderful. He not only played well in Vietnam to reach the finals but winning in Indonesian Masters is really incredible. He was the only foreigner playing on the final day among the Indonesians,” said Gopichand.
“He is somebody on whom we have a lot of hope. He has been a little inconsistent like a lot of our shuttlers. But it is really good to see consistency in last two weeks. It will be a big boost for him to do well in future,” he added.