India's hopes for a first-ever gold medal in BWF World Championships 2023 ended as HS Prannoy suffered a heartbreaking defeat against the world no.3 Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the semi-final clash in Copenhagen on Saturday, August 26. But India's top-ranked shuttler claimed the bronze medal, the only title in this edition of the tournament, to make India proud.
The world no.9 Prannoy stunned the world by beating the world champions and the current no.1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the quarterfinal clash to raise India's hopes for the gold medal. In the semifinal round, he won the opening set by 21-18 after a thrilling gameplay by both players but was not able to keep the form in the following two sets.
Prannoy was leading the second set by 5-1 but Vitidsarn was able to add early pressure on Prannoy with aggressive gameplay in the remainder of the match and sealed the win with 21-18, 13-21, 14-21 to reach the finals. Prannoy was disappointed with his performance but guided India to the bronze medal to give fans something to cheer for.
Vitidsarn famously beat India's Lakshya Sen in the pre-quarterfinals and maintains a winning record against Prannoy having beaten him in the England Open 2022 match. He also won the Junior BWF World Championships three times and now is the favourite to claim gold in the final with Prannoy and Axelsen out of the tournament.
On the other hand, Prannoy became India's only fifth player to claim a medal in the singles event at BWF World Championships history. Kidambi Srikanth (silver), Lakshya Sen (bronze), B Sai Praneeth (bronze) and Prakash Padukone (bronze) are the other four medalists with the former being the only player to reach the finals in 2021.