HS Prannoy fought valiantly before losing to fifth seed Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the men's singles quarterfinal, drawing curtains on India's campaign at the New Zealand Open badminton tournament in Auckland on Friday. Unseeded Prannoy squandered a one-game advantage before losing 21-17 15-21 14-21 to world number 11 Japanese shuttler in a marathon last-eight round match which lasted an hour and 13 minutes. The two shuttlers now enjoy a 1-1 head-to-head record against each other. The first game witnessed a close fight between Prannoy and Tsuneyama as both matched each other stroke for stroke till the first 13 points before the Indian pocketed four straight points to surge ahead 17-13.
The Japanese didn't give up and reduced the gap to 17-18 before Prannoy secured three points on the trot to take the first game. Prannoy raced to a 4-0 lead in the second game soon before extending it to 11-5. But then the Indian hit a roadblock and committed unforced errors to give his opponent a leeway and the Tsuneyama grabbed the chance with both hands. He won eight straight points to move ahead 14-11.
The Indian managed to draw level at 14 apiece before Tsuneyama closed out the game at 21-15 in his favour. The decider too was a hard-fought one as both the shuttlers were not in a mood to concede an each. They were tied at 14-14 before the Japanese lifted his game to seal the tie. Tsuneyama will play third seed and Jakarta Asian Games gold medallist Jonathan Christie in the last-four round.