Indian men's singles shuttlers HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap are set to lock horns in an all-Indian final at the US Open Grand Prix Gold after defeating their respective opponents in the semi-finals in Anaheim, California on Saturday. Prannoy notched up a 21-14 21-19 win over Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen in the first semi-final. Kashyap, on the other hand, eked out a hard-fought 15-21 21-15 21-16 win over Korean Kwang Hee Heo in the second semi-final which lasted for 66 minutes.
India have successfully maintained their brilliant run in men's singles in the tournament and at the end of the summit clash, an Indian shuttler will claim the US Open crown for the very first time.
Looking at their head-to-head meetings, it is hard to separate the Indian duo, with Kashyap winning at the then India Grand Prix in 2010 and Prannoy at the 2014 German Open respectively.
Come Sunday, it won't be the first time that two Indian shuttlers will square off for the title this season. Earlier at the Singapore Open Superseries, Kidambi Srikanth faced B Sai Praneeth in the final with the latter emerging victorious. On the other hand, this is the first time that two Indians have reached the men's singles final at the US Open.
Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kashyap will contest in his first final in about 21 months. The 30-year-old reached the final in October 2015, but unfortunately limped off the court with a calf injury. Since then, he has been struggling to maintain his form at tournaments.
Meanwhile, having battled a series of injuries, Prannoy will play his first final since clinching the 2016 Swiss Open. A string of excellent performances by Prannoy, which saw him making the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open by beating Malaysian ace Lee Chong Wei, and China's Chen Long remains the Kerala-born shuttler's best display of the year.
After winning the 2014 Indonesian Masters and Swiss Open last year, the 24-year-old will be appearing in his fourth Grand Prix Gold final of his career.
“It is good to reach a final after a long time. It was a tough match against the Korean. He had started really well and I took time to adjust to the conditions today as it was little slow. He was really patient and he was hitting hard smashes. But slowly I got a good rhythm and eventually I could pull off,” Kashyap told PTI.
“I think it was a difficult tournament to start with as the opening round was also against a player I had always had close matches with. I had played him five-six times and I was good to win in the first round. Also playing against Sameer (Verma) was tough. He is a tricky player and it has always been close matches with him. Really looking forward to the final,” he added.
This will be the third Grand Prix Gold title for Indian men’s shuttlers this year after Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth clinched the Syed Modi International and Thailand Open respectively. Not to forget, the Indian men also won three Superseries titles so far with Kidambi Srikanth clinching back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia Open and Praneeth winning at the Singapore event.
Updated Date: Jul 23, 2017 19:58 PM