India's Sai Praneeth, Manu Attri, Sumeeth Reddy win Canada Open titles

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Calgary (Canada), July 4: It was a double bonanza for India at the Canada Open as B Sai Praneeth and Rio-bound men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy clinched twin crowns after winning their respective title clashes at the USD 55,000 Grand Prix badminton tournament here.

The 23-year-old Praneeth, seeded fourth, dished out a dominating game to defeat Korea's Lee Hyun Il 21-12, 21-10 in the men's singles final that lasted less than half an hour yesterday (July 3) at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

A file picture of B Sai Praneeth

Top seed Manu and Sumeeth Reddy, who became the first Indian men's doubles pair to qualify for the Rio Olympics, received a big boost when they defeated local combo of Adrian Liu and Toby Ng 21-8, 21-14 in a lop-sided final here.

Plagued by injuries and indifferent form, Praneeth has been making early exits from tournaments for quite a few years now.

Of course, he had occasional burst of brilliance from time to time like when he stunned 2003 All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia at Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in June, 2013 or ruining the farewell party of Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, a former World and Olympic champion, in the first round of Djarum Indonesia Open in 2013.

In fact, at the All England Championships this year, Praneeth had defeated two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the first round. However, despite all these sparks of excellence, a title always eluded him.

But yesterday, all that changed as the Andhra Pradesh lad stood at the podium with his maiden Grand Prix crown at his hands.

World No. 37 Praneeth hardly broke any sweat against Lee, leading all throughout right from the start to end in both the games. The third seeded Korean couldn't put up any fight against the Indian, who jumped to a 10-2 lead in the opening game and then kept moving ahead to pocket the game comfortably.

In the second game, Praneeth surged to a 8-0 lead and then kept moving ahead to slam the door on the Korean.

On Saturday, Lee had defeated top seed Ajay Jayaram of India 21-9 21-8 in the semifinals, while Praneeth had eked out a difficult 22-20 19-21 21-12 win over France's Brice Leverdez.

World No. 23 Manu and Sumeeth, who had beaten Indonesia's Andrei Adistia and Canada's Dong Adam (Xingyu) 21-15 21-19 on Saturday, also didn't face much challenge from Adrian and Toby.

The Indian duo broke off after 3-3 early on in the first game and didn't look back, while in the second game, the local combo tried to put up a better show but they couldn't break the resolve of the Indians, who kept their distance to cross the line comfortably.

PTI

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