Updated: Jul 19
To get to the men's singles' second round of the Malaysia Open, Indian shuttler HS Prannoy overcame a strong challenge from local hero Daren Liew.
Prannoy, a former top-10 player who earlier this month advanced to the semifinals of the Indonesia Open Super 1000, won with scores of 21-14, 17-21, and 21-18 in 62 minutes.
The fourth-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei will be the opponent for the 29-year-old Keralan, who is now rated 21st, in the Super 750 badminton competition.
Prannoy took a while to get going but quickly built a comfortable 11-7 lead. His strokes broke through his opponent's defense, who appeared to be relatively passive as Prannoy was rewarded for his vigilance and improved rally control.
With the Indian consistently placing the shuttles in the appropriate spots and Liew making a few unusual mistakes, Prannoy's lead was not in danger.
Ultimately, Prannoy was the winner thanks to another return to the baseline.
Prannoy frequently went to the net as Liew established a 7-4 lead after the switch of sides. The Indian quickly changed the momentum with his forehand smashes on his opponent.
After the break, Prannoy made an effort to play quickly, but a string of careless mistakes, mostly near the net, gave Liew four-game points, and he completed the victory with a smash.
Prannoy increased his lead to 6-3 in the decisive, but Liew fought back with three points, including an agonizing rally that left Prannoy on the ground.
Prannoy managed to scrape out a three-point lead at the half because of the pair's lightning-fast performance.
Liew kept breathing down Prannoy's neck in the second part of the decider, but the Indian made sure he got the last laugh by ending the match with another thunderous smash that Liew put wide.
Following the early exits of B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma, Prannoy's victory was cheered by the Indian team.
Praneeth lost against Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, the sixth-ranked player in the world, while Sameer fell to Jonatan Christie, the eighth-ranked player in the world.
In a 50-minute men's singles match, Praneeth, 30, who is presently ranked 19 in the world, was defeated by Ginting 15-21, 21-19, and 9-21.
The Indonesian player now has a 5-3 advantage in eight meetings between the two athletes. When they last competed, Ginting won the match at the 2020 Asian Team Championships when Praneeth retired due to injury.
In another encounter, Sameer, who is recovering from an injury, battled for 49 minutes before falling short 14-21 21-13 7-21.
The women's doubles team of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also withdrew from the competition after falling to the sixth-seeded Japanese team of Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida 15-21, 11-21.
Later on in the day, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated Malaysia's Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee 21-18, 21-11 to advance to the BWF Super 750 event's next round. This was their first match since India's historic Thomas Cup victory in May.
Olympic medalists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu will compete in the opening round of the women's singles competition on Wednesday. At the Kuala Lumpur meeting, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth are not participating.