HS Prannoy in action© File photo
Star Indian shuttler HS Prannoy progressed to the men’s singles second round of the World Championships with a straight-game win over Finland’s Kalle Koljonen on Monday. The world number 9 Indian, who reached the quarterfinals in the last two editions, saw off the left-handed Koljonen 24-22 21-10 to extend his head-to-head count over the Finnish player to 3-0. It was a tight battle in the opening game as Koljonen was quick to open up a 8-4 lead. But Prannoy reeled off seven straight points to grab a 11-8 lead at the break. However, an exciting battle ensued after resumption with Koljonen eventually grabbing three game points after pushing one away from the forehand of his opponent. A calm Prannoy, however, saved all three game points before hitting wide to once again hand over the advantage to his rival.
A backhand block at the net helped him to save another game point but he sprayed into net next as it was 22-21 in favour of the Finnish player.
However, Koljonen couldn’t capitalise as he hit long and lost a net duel to gift the lead to the Indian, who converted with a brutal cross court smash.
The second game started on an equal footing with Prannoy marginally leading 6-5 at one stage. However, the Indian soon zoomed away to open up a six-point lead at the break with a straight smash.
The Indian kept moving ahead with Koljonen finding it hard to negotiate the angles and deceptions of Prannoy, who soon gained 12 match points after Koljonen hit wide.
Prannoy missed one at the net and Koljonen saved another one before the Indian shut the door with a straight smash.
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