Bangkok, June 5: India’s top badminton player B Sai Praneeth on Sunday won his maiden Grand Prix Gold title after defeating fourth-seed Jonathan Christie of Indonesia. Notably, Sai Praneeth defeated Jonathan Christie by 17-21, 21-18, 21-19 to clinch Thailand Open title.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sports Minister Vijay Goel and many others congratulated Sai for winning Thailand Open title via Twitter. Prime Minister Modi tweeted, “Congratulations to B Sai Praneeth for winning the Thailand Open badminton tournament. India is elated on the accomplishment.” On the other side, Sports Minister Goel tweeted, “Smashing victory for @saiprneeth92 at the #ThailandGPG2017. Congratulations champion, proud of you!”
However, Praneeth didn’t started well and was in defensive mode in the first set and lost to Indonesian by 17-21. After losing first set, Praneeth doing a very strong comeback and scored points at each and every interval and finally won by 17-21, 21-18, 21-19. The match lasted for one hour and 17 minutes.
At one stage, the Indonesian shuttler was leading 14-11 but Praneeth kept breathing down his neck and made it 14-14 with three straight points. After another couple of close points, Christie found himself 18-17 up and quickly sealed off the opening game with three points on the trot.
Making a brilliant comeback in the second game, Praneeth surged ahead 5-0 and then 9-3 but failed to maintain his huge lead as his opponent won six successive points to make it 9-9. Thereafter, it was a neck-and-neck battle till 15-15 before the Indian took a slight two-point lead at 17-15. Leading 17-16, Praneeth managed to bag three more points to move ahead 20-16. Although he wasted two game points, he eventually won it 21-18.
In the decider, Christie broke away at 2-2 to open up a 7-2 lead and then to 8-3. However, the Indian slowly made his way up with five consecutive points to reduce the margin to 7-8.
Finally, Praneeth caught up with him at 9-9 and what followed was a keenly contested affair with none of the shuttlers sparing an inch to each other. At 17-17, Praneeth won two crucial points to take a 19-17 lead but only to concede the advantage. Christie bagged the next two points to tie at 19-19. However, the Indian held on to his nerves to reel off two quick points to wrap up the match and the title in his favour.
Earlier to reach in the summit clash, Praneeth had registered a comfortable 21-11, 21-15 win over Pannawit Thongnuam of a host nation in the last-four clash that lasted just 36 minutes. This is Praneeth's second consecutive title win, following the Singapore Open victory. He had reached the finals of Syed Modi International in January at Hyderabad, where he lost to Sameer Verma.