New Delhi: What Parupalli Kashyap couldn't do in the first round, India's emerging shuttler HS Prannoy did in the second round by beating the former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat 26-24, 21-9 to sail into the quarter-final of India Open here on Thursday at the Siri Fort Complex.
Hidayat looked off-colour and his movement on the court looked rusty but the Indonesian star shuttler hung in there in the first game. Prannoy was on a game point but a long rally ensured a point to Hidayat to equalise at 20-20. However, Prannoy kept his cool to take the first game 26-24.
In the second game, Prannoy ensured no loose ends were left and at many times caught Hidayat wrong-footed. Hidayat was made to stretch, dive and fall by the Indian, which is quite a rare sight. And finally Hidayat surrendered meekly in the second game 21-9.
Prannoy might clash with world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, who has a match to play later in the day, in the quarters on Friday, .
When asked about his game plan for Hidayat, Prannoy said he tried not to make the same errors which Kashyap made on Wednesday. "I avoided playing him at the net because that is where he is the strongest. Today was not his day plus he is physically not that fit anymore. I knew his strokes and had planned it out with my coach how to play him. I saw what happened in Kashyap's match and tried not to make the same errors," said Prannoy.
Before the match, Prannoy didn't aim for a win but was occupied with the thought of playing the former world champion. "Honestly, I didn't really think about winning. But before the match, I thought if I can play well, I can win. A player like Taufik is very moody. If he wants to win, he will give it his best; if he doesn't feel like [in the groove], he'll lose. In the end it turned out to be an easy win," Prannoy added.
Prannoy also admitted that he has learned how to play badminton from watching videos of Hidayat and beating him was a great feeling for him. "It was my childhood dream to play against Taufik. I have been watching his game for the last 10 years and I'm a big fan of his. I used to see him play and imitate his backhands and forehands. To a large extent, I learned how to play like him by just watching him," said Prannoy.
In another thriller of a match that lasted one-hour and eight minutes, India's Sai Praneeth defeated Indonesia's Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 16-21, 29-27, 21-16 to book a quarter-final berth. But Saili Rane lost to Yeon Ju Bae 16-21, 19-21.
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