Eighth seed Kidambi Srikanth takes on unseeded HS Prannoy in what promises to be a cracking all-Indian semi-final at French Open 2017 in Paris on Saturday, October 28.
Srikanth has been in the form of his life, winning three Superseries titles, including last week's Denmark Open, in the ongoing season. The world number four displayed grit and hunger for more when he edged past defending champion Shi Yuqi 8-21, 21-19, 21-9 in an hour-long quarter-final battle on Friday.
Semifinals here in Paris!! Gonna be a tough task facing the man in form Srikanth tonight in the Semis! Hope to give my best ?? pic.twitter.com/eg0GYFUytJ— PRANNOY HS (@PRANNOYHSPRI) October 28, 2017
The 24-year-old was put under pressure by the Chinese shuttler, who took the first game 21-8. Srikanth though did not allow his opponent to get away in the second game. The Indian came up with a diving return at 16-18 that left the crowd at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin stunned. He never looked back from that point and went on to complete a remarkable comeback.
Prannoy impressive in Paris
On the other hand, Prannoy crushed South Korea's Jeon Hyeok Jin 21-16, 21-16 in just 47 minutes to set up a fourth career meeting with his junior compatriot. Notably, the world number 12 has lost the last two of their clashes with his last defeat coming at 2015 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold.
Prannoy, who has not dropped a game yet in the ongoing tournament, has slayed a few big names, including Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long in 2017. However, he has not been able to go the distance in Superseries tournaments this year.
The 25-year-old though will look to break the barrier and finish on the podium in Paris. However, he needs to be at his best to stop Srikanth, who is looking good to win back-to-back Superseries titles for the second time this year.
Srikanth has the edge over his compatriot
Prannoy has the firepower to trouble Srikanth, one of his sparring partners at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. However, the latter, a five-time Superseries champion, has gone to become one of the most lethal all-round players in the game.
Even if Prannoy is able to manage Srikanth's attack, the Guntur shuttler's net play, which has vastly improved in the recent past, is likely to trouble the former.
The winner of the all-Indian semi-final will face the winner of the second semi-final on Saturday between unseeded shuttlers Kenta Nishimoto and Anders Antonsen. A riveting battle awaits badminton fans as both shuttlers would not want to let go off facing a lower-ranked opponent in the final on Sunday.
When does the semi-final start and how to watch it live
The men's singles semi-final between Srikanth and Prannoy will not start before 4pm local time, 7:30pm IST
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Star Sports 1. Live streaming: Hotstar
Malaysia: TV: Astro Supersport. Live streaming: Astro Go
Singapore: TV: Star Hub. Live streaming: Starhub Go
Live scores can be followed on BWF's official website.