BIRMINGHAM, March 14: India’s HS Prannoy survived some anxious moments before advancing to the second round of the All England Championships after registering a straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang in the men’s singles competition here on Tuesday.
The World No. 9 Indian eked out a 21-19 22-20 win over Wang in the 49-minute opening round clash to take his overall tally to 5-3 over the Taiwanese.
The 30-year-old from Kerala will meet either third seeded Indonesian Anthony Sinisuka Ginting or Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen next.
Prannoy looked in good touch as he reeled off five points on the trot to zoom to a comfortable 11-4 lead. However, the Indian was guilty of missing the lines twice and also found the net, allowing Wang to cut down the deficit to three points at 11-14.
Prannoy managed to pull away to 18-12 with four straight points before Wang broke the run of points with an aggressive return after a fast-paced rally.
Wang then punished Prannoy for his weak returns and moved to 16-19 with a deceptive net return. A backhand going wide and then another one going long from Prannoy brought Wang to 19-19.
Prannoy then unleashed a cross court smash to move to game point and then sent down another straight smash to close the game.
The second game was a tightly fought battle from the word go as Wang opened up a 7-2 lead. Prannoy levelled the scores, only to miss the lines at his opponent’s forehand corner twice.
He eventually brought down a booming smash to eke out a one point lead at the break. The two engaged in a slugfest next, moving neck and neck till 16-16.
Two venomous returns gave Prannoy a 19-17 lead but he once again squandered it as Wang made it 19-19. The Taiwanese went long next to hand over a match point to the Indian, who wasted it.
However, a determined Prannoy ensured there was no last-minute hiccups as he rejoiced once Wang went to net. (PTI)