HS Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi are on the list twice.
HS Prannoy and Priyanshu Rajawat played an all-Indian semi-final at the Australian Open 2023. Indians have historically excelled in the singles matches of the BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Tour. Players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth, Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi have won multiple championships at the highest badminton levels. Also, youngsters like Lakshya Sen and Priyanshu Rajawat started making waves on the BWF World Tour.
However, it is not often that the best players of the Indian badminton team all succeed at the same time. While Saina Nehwal’s game was at its peak, Sindhu was still an emerging talent. And by the time Sindhu started to take over the biggest tournaments of the calendar year, Saina’s skills were already starting to wane.
And so, the latest forms of HS Prannoy, Priyanshu Rajawat and Lakshya Sen have breathed new life into the Indian badminton community. Only twice before the semifinals of the Australian Open 2023 have two Indians played each other in the semifinals of a BWF World Tour Super 500 or higher event.
Let’s take a look at the list of times we’ve witnessed an all-India semi-final in the men’s singles event of the BWF World Tour 500 or more:
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Here is the list of all India semi-finals in men’s singles of the BWF Super 500 (Super Series) or higher event:
2017 French Open: Srikanth Kidambi vs. HS Prannoy
2017 was the year of Srikanth Kidambi. The player, now 30, was unplayable in the 2017 and 2018 calendar years. Before playing the French Open 2017 all-India semi-finals, he had appeared in the first all-India final of a BWF Super Series event when he lost to B Sai Praneeth in the Singapore Super Series championship decision.
HS Prannoy, on the other hand, was still struggling to get into the top 20 in the BWF men’s singles standings. With Kidambi having to face tougher opponents, the duo had a very opposite path to the semi-finals. In the All India semi-finals, HS Prannoy capitulated after losing the second and third sets of the game. Srikanth went on to win the tournament.
2021 World Championship: Srikanth Kidambi – Lakshya Sen
Srikanth Kidambi had an outstanding head-to-head record against every single Indian male actor he has encountered throughout his career. Only B Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap managed to not lose more than they won against the 30-year-old. And Srikanth’s record against Lakshya Sen is no different. The veteran has three wins against Lakshya without registering a loss.
The two players played each other in the all-India semi-finals of the 2021 World Championship. Srikanth Kidambi came into the game after impressive wins against the likes of Li Shifeng, while Sen punched above his weight by reaching the all-India semi-finals, beating the likes of Kenta Nishimoto in the process.
As in the 2017 French Open semi-finals, he faced Srikanth Kidambi in the first set. However, the experienced player once again managed to win the next two sets and therefore the match. Lost to Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the final.
2023 Australian Open: HS Prannoy vs. Priyanshu Rajawat
HS Prannoy has once again qualified for the All India semi-final in a BWF Super 500 or higher event. This time, the upcoming talent faced Priyanshu Rajawat. Priyanshu entered the tournament after an impressive 2023 calendar year by winning his first BWF title, the Orleans Masters. Prannoy also earned his first BWF World Tour title, the Malaysia Masters in 2023.
Prior to their semi-final match, Prannoy defeated first-place Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Priyanshu Rajawat defeated Srikanth Kidambi. And this time, HS Prannoy didn’t let his first set win go to waste in the all-India semi-final of a BWF Super 500 or higher event. The then-31-year-old player beat the young player in straight sets to reach the final. However, he lost to Weng Hongyang in the final.
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