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HS Prannoy Wins the 2023 Malaysia Masters and breaks the Jink


At the Malaysia Masters Super 500 tournament on Sunday, Indian shuttler HS Prannoy defeated Chinese player Weng Hong Yang in the men’s singles finals, snapping a six-year title drought. The 30-year-old Indian defeated China’s world number 34 Weng Hong Yang, a bronze medalist at the 2022 Asian Championships, by the scores of 21-19, 13-21, and 21-18 in a 94-minute contest. The victory enabled him to win the first singles championship for India and his first BWF World Tour crown.

Prannoy played a key role in India’s historic Thomas Cup victory last year, but he hasn’t won an individual championship since winning the 2017 US Open Grand Prix Gold.

The Kerala shuttler had gone near to ending his title drought when, in 2017, he advanced to the Swiss Open finals and ended his career in Malaysia and the Indonesia Super 1000 semifinals.

Before turning his career around towards the latter part of 2021, Prannoy experienced several ailments and injuries.

He has been the most reliable Indian player on the circuit for the past two years, but he was unable to put everything together in a week to win a significant title in the BWF World Tour competitions.

Prannoy, the ninth-ranked player in the world, finally broke the curse on Sunday when he defeated the 23-year-old Chinese player in an attrition match with an outstanding effort.

Prannoy outwitted his opponents this week, including the world’s fifth-ranked Chou Tien Chen, the All-England champion Li Shi Feng, and the Japanese player Kenta Nishimoto, in three games.

Prannoy’s strategy was straightforward: maintain a steady onslaught, collect everything, and watch for mistakes from the opposition.

The Indian used his slanted returns to generate opportunities, and he stayed up with his speedy left-handed opponent because of his frugal court mobility.

He gained parity at 5-5 after lunging forward to take the shuttle away from Weng after falling behind 1-3.

The score was tied at 7 after the Chinese took the lead with two wide shots. When Prannoy mishandled a stroke at the net to terminate a rally, his younger competitor was able to take the lead.

Before Weng crashed into the net, the Indian had pulled even at 10-10 thanks to a precise down-the-line smash.

Prannoy was cautious throughout the duration of the rallies. The pair soon advanced to 16-16. Prannoy scored a few points after missing a few attempts at the goal before launching a persistent attack that netted him two game points.

He received a penalty for giving a mid-court return. Weng then sent a backhand into the net, giving Prannoy the victory.

Prannoy attempted a showy return at the net and also blasted the ball long twice after the teams switched sides, giving Weng a 4-0 lead. Prannoy started well with a powerful smash and a backhand snap shot before taking the lead at 5-4 with a brilliant backhand block.

The pair attempted to play tighter strokes in a game with razor-thin margins, and Weng was able to secure an 11-9 lead at the half.

When Prannoy subsequently made a mistake, finding the net while also missing the lines, Weng suddenly had a 16-10 advantage.

The Indian’s visage was filled with frustration as mistakes continued flying off his racket. Weng soon secured seven-game points with a precise cross-court return and converted them to force a deciding.

Weng maintained his momentum in the third game despite Prannoy continuing to snap at his feet at 6-8. An Indian net kill helped the team tie the score at 8-8 before Weng’s smash put an entertaining rally to a conclusion.

Prannoy produced another superb shot at the goal to confuse his opponent as another fantastic rally came to a close. He entered the mid-game break with a slim one-point lead.

Prannoy unleashed his cross-court smashes after the game had resumed to make it 14-11. Weng produced a precise smash before hitting his opponent’s body twice to reduce the field to 13–14.

After a cross-court smash that gave him a 16-13 lead, Prannoy loudly shouted.

Prannoy attempted to be more accurate, but he occasionally missed the lines, and another long shot enabled Weng to tie the score at 18 all.

Weng was sent to the ground by Prannoy’s smash after he managed to maintain his composure. Prannoy earned two championship points from another spectacular smash that just kissed the lines and converted them after his rival missed.

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