National Games: ‘My focus is World Tour Finals’, says HS Prannoy after guiding Kerala to Mixed Team Quarterfinals
HS Prannoy, currently in the top 15 of the latest rankings, said that he would like to make his way back to the elite top 10 shuttlers.
Surat: Star India shuttler HS Prannoy has set his sight on the season-ending World Tour Finals but said he will have to hone his skills to ensure that he doesn’t falter at the business end of the remaining tournaments.
One of the most consistent players in the international circuit this season, Prannoy has consistently reached the quarters and semifinals this season but a title has still eluded him.
The 30-year-old from Kerala recently replaced Tokyo Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the top of the latest men’s singles HSBC Race To Guangzhou rankings.
He is leading with 58,090 points, having participated in 13 tournaments on the BWF World Tour this year. Players in the top 8 qualify for the year-ending World Tour Finals scheduled to be held from 14 to 18 December in Guangzhou.
“My focus would be the World Tour Finals. There are quite a few tournaments before that. I hope to produce winning results in those,” Prannoy said after guiding Kerala to a 3-1 win over Assam in the mixed team quarterfinals of the National Games here.
“I have to be consistent. I would like to get into a good rhythm before the World Tour Finals. I’m happy with my results over the last year and I need to be consistent.”
A former world number 8, Prannoy had slipped out of the top 20 after enduring a tough phase plagued with health issues and a slump in form.
HS Prannoy, World no1 in BWF World tour Ranking shares his thoughts on the importance of #36NationalGames #NationalGames #UnityThroughSports #JudegaIndiaJitegaIndia #NationalGamesGujarat #GujaratTamariRahJueChe @PRANNOYHSPRI @CMOGuj @sagofficialpage @Media_SAI @bwfmedia pic.twitter.com/XJ164dGqxn
— National Games Gujarat (@Nat_Games_Guj) October 1, 2022
However, Prannoy has regained his place in the top 15 in the latest rankings and said his aim remains to get back into the elite 10.
“I would like to get into the top 10 and preferably top five as I would get a better draw. I also need to work on my game so that I should go beyond the semifinals. That is my priority now.”
On Saturday, Prannoy, returning to the court after a month’s break, didn’t break any sweat as he saw off Orijit Chaliha 21-11 21-9 in a lop-sided contest.
“I last played in the first week of September in Japan Open. It was a long break for me after some good victories this year,” Prannoy said.
“I was not moving as well as I wanted to, but I have got back to training. And, playing a match after a long time is always tough. But going deeper into the tournament, I will be getting tougher matches.”
Prannoy has been in good form since helping India win their maiden Thomas Cup title in May this year. His best came when he made it to the final of the Swiss Open, a BWF Super 300 event.
He also had two semifinal appearances in the Malaysia Masters and Indonesia Open.
Maharashtra, Gujarat reach semis
In the day’s other matches, Maharashtra defeated Delhi 3-1 while Gujarat got the better of Uttarakhand 3-2 to reach the semi-finals.
Maharashtra will now face top seeds Telangana while the hosts will take on Kerala for a spot in the gold medal match.
For Gujarat, it was a reason for celebrations as they are assured of first-ever badminton medal in the National Games.
Badminton Rankings: Lakshya Sen regains career-best sixth spot, Gayatri-Treesa breaks into world top 20
PV Sindhu, who hasn't played any tournament since the Birmingham CWG due to an ankle injury, also stayed at the world number six position.
The men's doubles pair of Arsh Mohammad and Sanskar Saraswat also finished second best as the Indian contingent finished the prestigious event with three silver and two bronze medals.
Bhagat won his fourth world title in the men's singles SL3 class in Tokyo last month and will hope to win a fifth like Chinese badminton legend Lin Dan besides winning gold at the 2024 Paris Games.