India’s Sai Praneeth went down fighting in the Swiss Open final against Shi Yuqi, losing 21-19, 18-21, 12-21 in Basel on Sunday. Praneeth raced away at the start of the match with a six-point lead at 15-9 in the first game. But, Yuqi caught up and made it 18-19. The Indian held his nerve and closed out the first game at 21-19.
In the second game, Praneeth went toe-to-toe with Yuqi until 18-18. The Indian was just three points away from sealing the match, but ended up conceding those three points to the Chinese, who made it one game all in the match.
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It was all but over when Praneeth conceded a huge seven-point lead at 11-18 in the third game. Yuqi ensured that he didn’t make too many errors and took the game 21-12.
Praneeth had toppled world number five and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long to breeze into the final of the men’s singles event of the Swiss Open on Saturday.
World number 22 Praneeth initially faced stiff resistance from the former Chinese world number one and Rio Olympic gold medallist before prevailing 21-18, 21-13 in the semi-final clash.
(With inputs from agencies)
Mar 17, 2019 21:50 IST