Prannoy wins Swiss Open to keep Olympic hopes alive

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Prannoy wins Swiss Open to keep Olympic hopes alive

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Amlan Majumdar


HS Prannoy produced an impressive performance in the final of the Swiss Open to win the crown after defeating 32-year-old German shuttler Marc Zwiebler 21-18, 21-15 at St. Jakobshalle in Basel on Sunday. The win also keeps the 23-year-old's slim hope of qualifying for the Rio Olympics alive.

Prannoy, seeded 13th in the tournament, had defeated the likes of Rajiv Ouseph and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk on his way to the final, where he faced World No.19 Marc Zwiebler. The duo had faced each other only once before this encounter, at the Star Australian Badminton Open in 2014, where the German won comfortably.

HS Prannoy started the game on the front foot and raced to a 7-4 lead against the veteran Marc Zwiebler. However, the 32-year-old showed a lot of fight and eventually took the lead at 10-9. Prannoy was making all the running in the opening game with Zwiebler firmly on his backfoot. The Indian shuttler's aggression was negated by the German's solid defensive play. After jostling each other till 18-18, Prannoy finally found an opening and won the first game 21-18.

The second game was a one-sided affair as Zwiebler failed to recover from the heartbreak of losing such a close first game. Prannoy controlled the game from the back of the court and showed brilliant retrieval skills, and delicate touches at the net to race to a 13-8 lead. In the end, Zwiebler could not live with Prannoy's fitness and his speed across the court. The Indian won the final game 21-15, to win the crown which was won by Srikanth Kidambi last year.

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