Sai Praneeth’s dream run at the 2019 BWF World Championships came to an end on Saturday with a 13-21, 8-21 loss to Japanese World No 1 Kento Momota. Praneeth kept pace with the defending champion for much of the first game, but Momota switched gears in the second and left the 27-year-old Indian reeling.
There was little to separate the two before the interval of the first game. The 27-year-old Indian shuttler fluctuated between defence and attack and hardly made an unforced error which meant that Momota was holding a slender lead of 11-10 in the first game.
Momota started to assert himself after that and Praneeth started making a succession of unforced errors. The latter could only take two more points after the resumption as Momota took the first game 21-13.
Praneeth was completely out of his depth in the second game with Momota relentlessly ticking away the points. The Indian started making a number of errors and by the time the interval came, Praneeth’s body language showed that he had resigned to his fate. Momota led 11-3 at the interval. Praneeth took just five more points and lost the second game 8-12.
The Indian shuttler said that it was the unforced errors after the interval in the first game that brought his downfall. “I lost my rhythm after making four-five mistakes continuously after the break. He was also able to pick up all my attacks so I just blanked out,” he told IANS.