Japan Open 2022 | India campaign ends as HS Prannoy loses quarters encounter

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Japan Open 2022 | India campaign ends as HS Prannoy loses quarters encounter

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SportsCafe Desk

09/02/2022

HS Prannoy lost to Taipei's Chou Tien Chen in the men's singles quarterfinals, ending India's participation in the Japan Open. Chou Tien Chen, who had won bronze medal in the world championships, won in three games against the 30-year-old Indian 21-17 15-21 22-20, in a match lasting over one hour.

Prannoy, one of the most reliable Indian players on the circuit this season, battled back admirably from an initial game loss and held his opponent on the ropes right up to the final point, but Chou's tenacity ultimately won him the match at the Super 750 competition.

Prannoy and Chou engaged in an attrition war before the match and Prannoy won the first game 12-8 thanks to his double victories over Chou in their previous two meetings. When Prannoy moved to the net, Chou turned the tables at 15–14. The Indian stumbled with his net shot twice, which energized the Taiwanese as he increased his lead to two points.

Prannoy sent a forehand into the net after making another hard return on his rival's backhand, giving Chou three chances to score a game-winning point. Chou won the title with a deft cross-court return.

Following the switch of sides, Chou once more took a slim 5-4 lead before a fortunate net chord evened things out. Prannoy's mistakes mounted as he went down 6-10, while Chou's returns became steeper and his attack stronger. A great rally that Prannoy attempted to dictate finished with a fortuitous net chord for the Indian, who pulled even at 10-10 as Chou struggled at the front court.

Prannoy, though, was unable to block a ball on his backhand, giving Chou the advantage at the break. After the match resumed, Prannoy improved his defense and hit several effective down-the-line smashes to pull ahead of his rival, who suddenly made a number of mistakes, particularly in the front court.

Chou launched a cross-court smash off the Indian's serve to interrupt the flow of play as Prannoy led 19–14. However, Prannoy made sure there were no hiccups by forcing Chou to go long as he brought the match to a conclusion. Prannoy's poor play in the decisive caused him to trail 1-4 as he smacked the shuttle wide. Chou went long three times before ending the arduous rally with a body smash to take the lead 6-4.

Prannoy struggled to control the shuttle, and a string of unforced mistakes allowed Chou to grab a six-point lead into halftime. The Taiwanese performed a body smash to keep a three-point advantage before earning opportunities to score three match points as the Indian went to the net.

Prannoy saved the three-match chances as Chou went wide twice and fired a down-the-line smash in between. However, Chou served out the following point, giving his opponent another chance to win the match.

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