India's B Sai Praneeth recorded a stunning straight-game win over Indonesia's Jonatan Christie to seal the semifinal spot and end India's 36-year agonising wait for a men's singles medal at the BWF World Championships in Basel on Friday (August 23). (BADMINTON NEWS)
World No. 19 Praneeth, who was awarded the Arjuna Award this year, registered a 24-22 21-14 win over Asian Games gold medallist and World No. 4 Jonatan in the quarterfinals to assure himself of a medal at the prestigious tournament.
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Badminton legend Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a men's singles medal -- a bronze -- in the 1983 World Championship.
Praneeth had won the Singapore Open in 2017 and settled for silver in the Swiss Open earlier this year.
In the opening game, the Indian jumped to a 8-4 lead, but Jonatan stepped up to claw back at 10-10 before Praneeth managed a slender 11-10 advantage at the break with the help of a delicate shot at the net.
The duo continued their battle after the breather as Jonatan kept breathing down the Indian's neck.
Praneeth eventually grabbed a game point at 20-19 with a cross court smash at the back, but Jonatan turned the tables and enjoyed a game point himself.
However, Praneeth ensured he had the last laugh. The Indian unleashed a powerful smash which the Indonesian hit wide and then his rival's weak return got buried at the net.
Praneeth missed the shuttle at the backline to concede a point but he grabbed the required two points -- the last one with a cross court smash -- to pocket the opening game.
The second game turned out to be a one-way traffic as Praneeth came out with all cylinders blazing to, first surge to a 7-1 lead, and then a massive 11-3 advantage at the break.
Jonatan tried to recover and narrowed the gap to 12-15 but the Indian stepped up to grab six match points, punishing a weak return and then shutting the door on Jonatan, who went wide.