B Sai Praneeth faultered at the final stage of Swiss Open 2019 as he lost 21-19, 18-21, 12-21 to world No.2 Shi Yuqi of China on Sunday. Despite starting on a high note and dominating Yuqi for half of the match, errors creeped in for Praneeth towards the second half of the match as Yuqi took the title.
This was Praneeth’s chance to bag his first title in two years and especially after the kind of form he was in throughout the tournament – he had not dropped a single game.
Praneeth was in top form coming into the final as he absolutely outplayed Olympic champion Chen Long in the semi-final to set up the final date with Yuqi.
However, it came down to fitness and ability to carry on for longer on the court where Yuqi took the cake.
Praneeth showed the flair of the semi-final in the first game and his cross court shots were doing the job again.
Within 10 minutes, Praneeth went into the break with an 11-9 lead in the first game.
Praneeth had found his rhythm while Yuqi was struggling to read the deception Praneeth was playing with.
Praneeth showed some exceptional control at the net and raced off to an 18-12 lead after the break.
Yuqi, however, was not giving up as expected and kept Praneeth’s on his toes.
Despite having a 19-16 lead, Yuqi stormed right back to make it 19-19 only for Praneeth to hold his nerves and close out the game 21-19 in 21 minutes.
Praneeth began the second in a similar manner, finding the lines and troubling Yuqi with his all-court play.
Praneeth had a good lead and was looking primed to take it but Yuqi shifted gears and began to take control.
Errors began to creep in for Praneeth and Yuqi took the second game 21-18 in 26 minutes to force the decider.
A third game is known to be a bit of achilles’ heel for Praneeth and the same showed up in Basel as Yuqi began to stay on top of Praneeth in the decider.
Praneeth kept making errors and looked exhausted while Yuqi had found his reserve energy to carry on strong.
In 13 minutes, Yuqi took an 11-7 lead into the break and never looked back from there.
Praneeth attempted but in the end, Shi Yuqi was just too good. Yuqi took the decider in 21 minutes and won the title in 68 minutes.