Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth advanced to the quarter-finals of the Thailand Masters 2023 badminton tournament after registering a hard-fought win over South Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin in the mens singles round of 16 match, here on Thursday.
The win kept India’s challenge alive at the BWF Super 300 tournament as the other five Indian badminton players and doubles teams taking part on the day failed to cross the round of 16.
Praneeth, a world championships bronze medallist, saved a game point in the first game and a match point in the third game to defeat Jeon Hyeok Jin 24-22, 7-21, 22-20 in one hour and 18 minutes.
The world No. 49 Indian shuttler led Jeon Hyeok Jin by three points at the break and thwarted a late comeback by his opponent in the first game to take a 1-0 lead. Jeon, who is 65th in the badminton world rankings, turned the tables on Praneeth in the second game to restore parity.
The Indian then mounted a comeback in the third game to lead the South Korean shuttler 13-9 at one stage. However, Jeon Hyeok Jin drew level at 16-16 and had the match point opportunity at 20-19.
Praneeth, a former world 10, then scored three back-to-back points to set up a clash against Youth Olympic Games champion Li Shi Feng of China in the quarter-finals.
Earlier, Kiran George took the first game against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheukyiu but bowed out after a 22-20, 15-21, 20-22 defeat.
In women’s singles, Ashmita Chaliha also began her match against Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt by winning the first game. However, she also suffered a 21-19, 13-21, 29-27 loss. In mixed doubles, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto, seeded eighth, lost to the unseeded Indonesian pair of Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Marsheilla Gischa Islami 19-21, 16-21.
On the other hand, Rohan Kapoor-N Sikki Reddy suffered a 11-21, 10-21 loss against the Chinese world no. 24 mixed doubles pair of Feng Yanzhe and Huang Dongping. In men’s doubles, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Sai Pratheek K lost to Thailand’s Tanadon Punpanich and Wachirawit Sothon 14-21, 21-18, 24-26 in yet another close contest.