India's HS Prannoy could not get off to a winning start at the BWF World Tour Finals as the in-form shuttler lost to Japan's Kodai Naraoka in the opening match in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday. Prannoy put up a valiant fight against the 21-year-old shuttler but it was not enough as he lost in 3 games.

Prannoy has been drawn in Group A in the men's singles draw of the season-ending tournament in Bangkok along with reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen and Chnia's Lu Guang Zu. The World No. 11 Indian shuttler would have hoped for a better start against Naraoka but the opening-round defeat means Prannoy hopes of qualifying to the semi-final took a hit.

Two shuttlers from each group will play the semi-finals after the round-robin in the group stages.

Prannoy was on the backfoot at the start as Naraoka got off to a pacy start, dictating play in the opening game. Prannoy tried to catch-up with the young Japanese shutter, who lead 11-7 at the mid-game break. However, Naraoka pushed on and raced to take the

opening game.

Prannoy looked to regain rhythm as he gave Naroaka a taste of his own medicine, winning the second game in quick time and forcing a decider.

However, Naraoka held his nerves and fend off the Prannoy threat in a hard-fought deciding game.

Prannoy lost 12-21, 21-9, 17-21 in a match that extended to an hour. It was also Prannoy's second loss to Naraoka on the tour after he was beaten in three games in the Singapore Open quarter-final.

Prannoy has been in fine form in the ongoing year and he would want to cap it off with a deep run at the BWF World Tour Finals. Taking a game against Naroaka will come in handy if there is a tie-breaker for the semi-final qualifying positions.

Prannoy can take confidence from the fact that he defeated Viktor Axelsen in their latest meeting on the tour at Indonesia Masters earlier this year even though the Dane has a 5-1 better overall record. Prannoy also lost his only meeting to Guang earlier this year at the Frrench Open.
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