B Sai Praneeth has been a real surprise for the Indian contingent at the BWF World Championships and he would be willing to continue his winning streak against World No.1 Kento Momota in the semi-final. While Praneeth hasn’t dropped a game in his last four, beating Momota would be difficult.
Praneeth became the first shuttler from India in 36 years to assure a medal from the male event at the World Championships after Prakash Padukone did it back in 1983. And the 27-year-old has been doing it in a manner that has risen a hope amongst fans that he could go all the way this time.
Praneeth has been on the international circuit for a long time now with occasional big wins here and there. He had hogged the limelight by beating No 2 Lee Chong Wei at the 2016 All England Open. He had followed that up by winning the 2017 Singapore Open Superseries title. He has even been in the top-20 for the past three-four years, but his inconsistency has been like a thorn in his path to glory.
However, for all the quality has shown in the run-up to the semi-final against Indonesian top seeds Jonathan Christie and Anthony Ginting, Momota would be totally different challenge altogether. The World No.1 hasn’t seen a dip in form in the last one year and has unparalleled agility and stamina on the court. Praneeth could battle him with his percentage strokes but coming out as the victor in the other end is as Praneeth said, “improbable”.
They have both faced each other five times, with Praneeth winning twice, both of which came back in 2013, when the Japanese was a potential and not the talent that he is now. Momota has beaten Praneeth twice in this year itself with the other one coming in 2018.
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