Indian badminton player B Sai Praneeth suffered a defeat to Youth Olympic Games champion Li Shi Feng of China in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Thailand Masters 2023 men's singles event in Bangkok on Friday.
The loss also ended India's challenge at the BWF Super 300 tournament as no other Indian badminton player reached the quarter-finals at the event.
B Sai Praneeth got a good start to the match but fell 17-21, 23-21, 18-21 in a match that lasted for one hour and 23 minutes. Praneeth has not reached the BWF World Tour semi-finals since winning the bronze medal at the BWF World Championships in 2019.
B Sai Praneeth, ranked 49th in the world, led Li Shi Feng 15-10 in the first game. The Indian badminton player then dropped 11 of the following 13 points, falling behind 1-0 in the match.
At the second break, Li Shi Feng, seeded sixth and world No. 23, led B Sai Praneeth by two points. The Chinese shuttler then extended his lead to 19-15 over B Sai Praneeth.
B However, Sai Praneeth, a former world No. 10, improved his game and startled Li Shi Feng to force a final.
In the third game, both B Sai Praneeth and Li Shi Feng had close rallies. With the scores deadlocked at 12-12, Li Shi Feng altered gears to win the next six points and go to the semi-finals.
Last year, the two shuttlers battled in the Malaysia Masters, with Li Shi Feng winning in straight games.
The Indian badminton players, including former world champion PV Sindhu and Thomas Cup heroes Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, and HS Prannoy, will compete next at the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships 2023, which will be held in Dubai from February 14 to 19. (ANI)