H. S. Prannoy fought valiantly before losing to fifth seed Kanta Tsuneyama in the men’s singles quarterfinal, drawing curtains on India’s campaign at the New Zealand Open on Friday.
Unseeded Prannoy squandered a one-game advantage before losing 21-17, 15-21, 14-21 to the world number 11 shuttler in a marathon last-eight round match which lasted an hour and 13 minutes. The two shuttlers now enjoy a 1-1 head-to-head record against each other.
The first game witnessed a close fight between Prannoy and Tsuneyama as both matched each other stroke for stroke till the first 13 points before the Indian pocketed four straight points to surge ahead 17-13.
The Japanese didn’t give up and reduced the gap to 17-18 before Prannoy secured three points on the trot to take the first game.
Prannoy raced to a 4-0 lead in the second game and extended it to 11-5. But then the Indian hit a roadblock and committed unforced errors to give his opponent a leeway and the Tsuneyama grabbed the chance with both hands. He won eight straight points to move ahead 14-11.
The Indian managed to draw level at 14 apiece before Tsuneyama closed out the game at 21-15 in his favour.
The decider was also a hard-fought one as both the shuttlers were not in a mood to concede points. They were tied at 14-14 before the Japanese lifted his game to seal the tie.
Tsuneyama will play third seed and Jakarta Asian Games gold medallist Jonathan Christie in the semifinals.