Basel: India’s B Sai Praneeth produced a masterful display of composure and mental resilience to stun former World No. 1 and Rio Olympic gold medalist Chen Long with 21-18, 21-13 in Swiss Open semi-final on Saturday.
Chen got off to a strong start as he opened up a 6-2 lead in the first set. But the World No. 22 Indian player was quick out of the blocks at the St. Jakobshalle Basel Stadium as he levelled the score at 6-6. Although Chen Long went into the mid game interval with an 11-7 lead, Sai Praneeth was brilliant at the net and was playing with enough patience to start collecting points against the World No. 5 Chinese shuttler to ultimately win the first set.
The first set victory clearly boosted Sai Praneeth’s confidence. He continued to play well at the net and was playing with loads of patience. After winning the 13th point with a beautiful net shot, the Indian player never look back and wrapped up the match with a round-the-head cross court shot in a 46-minutes encounter.
The victory was Praneeth’s first win over Chen in three attempts. He had lost to Chen at the Indonesia Master early this year and at the 2018 Asian Championships.
Sai Praneeth will meet another Chinese player, the No. 1 seed Shi Yuqi in the final.
Shi Yuqi, competing in his second tournament in Europe since his semi-final exit at last week’s All England, stormed past No. 4 seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia who defeated Lin Dan in the quarter-final, claiming the semi-final match 21-9, 21-17.
In men’s doubles, Lee Yong Dae/Kim of Korea couldn’t finish the match when they were leading at 20-19 in the decider, allowing Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan rallied from behind to win the match 22-20, 13-21, 22-20 in 75 minutes.