Birmingham: India’s H S Prannoy survived some anxious moments before advancing to the second round of the All England Open after registering a straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Wei Wang in the men’s singles competition here on Tuesday.
The world No. 9 eked out a 21-19, 22-20 win over Wang in the 49-minute opening round clash to take his overall tally to 5-3 over the Taiwanese.
The 30-year-old from Kerela looked in good touch as he reeled off five points on the trot to zoom to a comfortable 11-4 lead. However, the Indian was guilty of missing the lines twice and also found the net, allowing Wang to cut down the deficit to three points at 11-14.
Prannoy managed to pull away to 18-12 with four straight points before Wang broke the run of points with an aggressive return after a fast-paced rally.
Wang then punished Prannoy for his weak returns and moved to 16-19 with a deceptive net return. A backhand going wide and then another one going long from Prannoy brought Wang to 19-19.
Prannoy then unleashed a cross court smash to move to game point and then sent down another straight smash to close the game.
Wang opened up a 7-2 lead in the second game. Prannoy levelled the scores, only to miss the lines at his opponent’s forehand corner twice.
He eventually brought down a booming smash to eke out a one-point lead at the break. The two engaged in a slugfest next, moving neck and neck till 16-16.
Two venomous returns gave Prannoy a 19-17 lead but he once again squandered it as Wang made it 19-19. The Taiwanese went long next to hand over a match point to the Indian, who wasted it.
However, a determined Prannoy ensured there was no last-minute hiccups as he rejoiced once Wang went to net.