Luck deserted Prannoy at crucial moments as he put up a brilliant fight against Weng. Leading 14-19 in the third game, Prannoy made a couple of mistakes to allow the Chinese to reduce the gap to 16-19. At this moment both players were involved in the longest rally of the match (71 shots).
During this rally, Prannoy fired three powerful smashes. On most of the days they would easily earn points but not today as Weng found a way to retrieve all three – two of them by diving to his extreme left and one was a body smash. A rattled Prannoy hit the shuttle into the net as Weng scored his fourth straight point. This rally swung the momentum in Weng’s favour and the Chinese capitalised on it.
Though disappointed, chief coach Pullela Gopichand said that Prannoy did not do anything wrong. “It was a close match. He played very well towards the end, playing some brilliant strokes. Prannoy did not do anything wrong, it was his opponent who played well,” Gopichand said, adding that Prannoy was quite good in the last three weeks.
“Nevertheless, the last three weeks has been fantastic for him. He did well in some close matches against top opponents. His match against Viktor (Axelsen) was very close. He was quite good in the last three weeks. He became very competitive and it augurs well for him ahead of big tournaments like World Championships, Asian Games and China Open,” Gopichand said.
Prannoy and other Indians have a couple of weeks to prepare for the World Championships to be held in Denmark later this month.
Priyanshu may not make it to Worlds
Despite improving a lot in the last few months, Orleans Masters champion Priyanshu Rajawat may not qualify for the Worlds as Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth fill the three men’s singles slots from India. The 21-year-old is in reserves.
Gopichand had a word of praise for Priyanshu, who reached the semifinals in Sydney.
“I am happy for Priyanshu. He was very good. It is not only the results but the way he progressed and adapted himself was quite impressive,” Gopichand said.
Zhang wins women’s singles
Beiwen Zhang of USA defeated seventh seed Kim Ga Eun of South Korea 20-22, 21-16, 21-8 to win the women’s singles title.
Other final results (Men’s doubles): Kang Min/Seo Seung (Kor) bt Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobyashi (Jpn) 21-17, 21-17.
Women’s doubles: Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong (Kor) bt Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning (Chn) 21-18, 21-16.
Mixed: Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong (Chn) bt Hiroki Midorikawa/Natsu Saito (Jpn) 21-14, 16-21, 21-15.