HS Prannoy became the first Indian men's singles shuttler to clinch the Malaysia Masters title here on Sunday as he defeated China's Weng Hong Yang in the final. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are the other two Indian players to win Malaysia Masters in the singles category.
Prannoy used his experience right from the start of the match and got the better of Weng Hong Yang 21-19, 13-21, 21-18 in a three-game final that lasted one hour and 34 minutes.
"I congratulate HS Prannoy for becoming the first Indian men's singles shuttler to clinch the Malaysia Masters title. He has contributed to many memorable victories in Indian badminton and continuing his fine form into the BWF World Tour title is a matter of great pride for the country and all of us. I hope and wish he continues his impressive run in the upcoming competitions and brings more laurels to India," said Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of the Badminton Association of India.
The Indian shuttler has been instrumental in many victories for the Indian badminton team, including the historic Thomas Cup and the 2023 Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships. Now, with the BWF World Tour Title in the men's singles category, Prannoy will look forward to upcoming tournaments with more confidence.
"I think just too many emotions as such because the last six years were too much of a roller coaster ride for me and really didn't expect this to happen after six years. To be honest, if you had me asked in 2017, I don't think I would have told you that in 2023 I would be winning a Super 500. I want to thank all the coaches and the support staff. I think we have worked really, really hard and the result is showing," Prannoy stated after the victory.
He added, "It's too much of emotions as such and then you are excited to come out there and play in front of such a big crowd. It was a beautiful crowd out there, so you're always excited to be there. The draw was really tough for me and had really tough matches as I had to dig really deep. All four matches went to the wire and that shows how patient I was and my fitness was also pretty much decent. I think to beat these kinds of players is not easy, you just have to dig in deep. The conditions were really slow the entire tournament and all matches were going long and you just had to hang in there and I did that."
The first game of the final was a tight battle as both the shuttlers began with high energy and gave their all to earn each point. They were tied at 5-5 before Prannoy played some ferocious shots to get ahead (11-10) by a point at the break.
Prannoy did not fall behind Weng in the second half of the first game and took the lead in the match.
The Indian shuttler took time to find his feet in the second game as Weng came all guns blazing. He didn't give Prannoy any time to settle and won the second game 21-13. However, in the third game, it was Prannoy who came out on top as he maintained his calmness in tough situations.
He was ahead at the break (11-10) in the third game before showcasing some superior net play and smashes to clinch the game 21-18 and win the title.