World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth rebounded from a first-game loss to beat World No. 36 Loh Kean Yew as the Bengaluru Raptors met the Pune 7 Aces at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow on Monday.
This was Sai’s first win of the season after suffering a couple of losses.
Having never played Yew on the BWF World Tour, the World No. 11 Sai took some time to figure out the Singaporean. Yew was coming after the high of beating 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap in Pune’s first tie of the season.
Carrying that momentum into this match, he stormed back from a 2-4 deficit to move ahead to 10-8. His pace and power really troubled the former Singapore Open champion who conceded the opening game 10-15.
Change of ends, however, worked well for the Bengaluru ace. By injecting pace into his shots, he was able to turn around the match. Quick footwork and brilliant anticipation skills took the Indian to a huge 11-4 lead. It was then a matter of time before he wrapped up the second game 15-7.
Sai never relented and was able to maintain his aggression. The flurry of attacking shots from Sai’s end took the wind out of Loh’s sails as the Raptors star raced away to a 10-15, 15-7, 15-8 win.
Earlier, 22-year-old promising talent, Ansal Yadav gave a good account of himself on his PBL debut against World No. 71 Kazumasa Sakai of the Aces. Showing oodles of determination, the Bengaluru player went down fighting to Sakai 14-15, 9-15.
“It was a good game. I saw he beat Kashyap the last time. I am really happy with the win and I hope to continue the momentum. This is definitely a confidence booster. Hope this game is the turning point for us,” said Sai Praneeth after his victory.