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Malaysia Masters 2022: HS Prannoy ousted in semis; India's campaign comes to an end

NG Ka Long Angus beat HS Prannoy in the semis of the 2022 Malaysia Masters. His loss ended India's tournament campaign on a low-key note.

Malaysia Masters 2022: HS Prannoy ousted in semis; India's campaign comes to an end-ayh
Kuala Lumpur, First Published Jul 9, 2022, 5:11 PM IST

Star Indian shuttler HS Prannoy's rampaging run at the Malaysia Masters 2022 came to a low-key end. He suffered a narrow three-set loss to NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong in the semis in Kuala Lampur on Saturday, while his match was littered with his errors. It was heartbreaking in the semis for the Indians, as he squandered a one-game advantage and went down 21-17 9-21 17-21 against NG Ka Long in a battle that lasted for an hour and four minutes. Heading into the match with a 4-4 career record, Prannoy, coming off wins over Ng Ka Long in the last three meets, picked the good side after winning the toss.

It seemed to haunt him as he looked in an established control in the opening game, only to struggle with his length and kept committing unforced errors with a change on every end. After a daring start in the opening round, Prannoy strode ahead to a 5-3 lead with a couple of superb cross-court jump smashes.

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The Indian didn't try to play at a dazzling pace but focused on forming the rallies and retaliating the weak returns with a pitch-perfect placement. During the break, he had a four-point advantage. While Ng Ka Long tried to use his smashes to gather momentum, he missed some easy chances, as Prannoy preserved his four-point lead till 17-13.

Prannoy then gave away a couple of points with two miscalculated shots before lasting in a parallel exchange and quickly grasped four game-point opportunities. However, he missed the first one before finishing the opening game with a perfect placement at the baseline.

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However, as he changed the sides after the opening game, Prannoy lost control of the shuttle in drifty conditions, while Ng Ka Long displayed better execution to keep a tight grip on the rallies. It resulted in a six-point advantage during the mid-game interval. Prannoy soon fell far behind due to numerous errors, as the Indian decided to let aside the game for the decider.

In the deciding game, Prannoy initially looked in control of the proceedings, quickly establishing an 8-3 lead. Still, the Hong Kong shuttler scripted a sensational recovery, as he won eight of the following nine points to enter the break with an essential two-point lead. Ng Ka Long initially drew parity with Prannoy, finding the net, and punished his frail returns.

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After the last change of ends, Prannoy endeavoured to infuse pace in the rallies, but Ng Ka Long drove to lead 16-12. The fact that Prannoy went long at least greatly added to his agony as he spawned a couple of body smashes to cap the lead down to 16-17 and muster hopes of a turnaround. Yet, a relentless Ng Ka Long won a long rally, grabbing three match points after the Indian committed a net error. He converted it with a comforting block and vaulted in revelry.

(With inputs from PTI)

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