Japan Open: Sai Praneeth loses semi-final tie against Kento MomotaLast updated on Jul 27, 2019, 12:19 pm
Men's badminton singles player Sai Praneeth was the last hope for India at the Japan Open, but his loss ensured that the nation's campaign is over.
The promising shuttler faced a defeat in straight games to number one seed Kento Momota in the semi-finals.
Praneeth lost 18-21, 12-21 against Momota.
Here are the details.
Momota gains momentum to stay ahead of Praneeth
In this rather one-sided contest, Momota started well after the two were involved in a brilliant 45-shot rally.
The 24-year-old gained a promising 11-6 lead midway.
Momota was going strong with a 19-15 lead, before Praneeth staged a small comeback.
The Indian sealed three straight points.
That did not cause a concern as Momota held his nerves to dish out a 21-18 victory.
Second game sees Momota gain authority
Praneeth upped the ante and was more competitive till the halfway stage mark in the second game.
His fight saw him stay within the grasp of Momota at 9-11.
However, Momota kept his calm and focus.
The Japanese sensation bagged ten of the next 11 points to dominate the show and book a place in the finale.
Momota has dominated the badminton court since 2018
Momota goes into the final as the favorite.
He bagged the prestigious 2019 All England Open after overcoming Viktor Axelsen from Denmark in a three-game thriller.
He also pocketed the Singapore and German Open titles in 2019.
Momota enjoyed an excellent 2018 and that has helped him.
He won four BWF World Tour honors.
Since last year, he has been runner-up in four tournaments.
Momota in a zone of his own
Momota, who bagged two successive gold medals at the Asian Championship (2018 and 2019), is also the World Championship winner last year.
The Japanese now leads Praneeth 3-1 in their head-to-head career meetings.
He will face Jonathan Christie in the final, who beat Jan Jorgensen 21-14, 21-14.
His unpredictability and swift movements could help him defend the title.
Praneeth will look up to Thailand Open
Praneeth has only managed one runner-up show this year at the Swiss Open. Since then he has not quite fired. This was his best finish post that. Praneeth will turn his attention towards the Thailand Open which starts from July 30 onwards.