BWF World Championships: HS Prannoy dethrones Axelsen in stunning fightback for first Worlds medal

HS Prannoy pulled off a stunning win over Viktor Axelsen in the World Championship quarterfinal IZHAR KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

HS Prannoy won his first ever BWF World Championship medal with a stunning fightback against Viktor Axelsen - the defending champion, world No. 1 and the undisputed best player in current men's badminton.

The 31-year-old Indian, in his third straight quarterfinal, progressed to the semifinal for the first time with a terrific 13-21, 21-15, 21-16 win over the top seed on Friday, in front of the Dane's loud home crowd in Copenhagen. It was one of the biggest win's of Prannoy's career, both in terms of success and magnitude.

His medal ensured India's streak of a medal at every World Championship since 2011 continued, as he was the last Indian standing after the exit of second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty earlier in the day. The BWF World Championship awards medals for reaching the semifinal.

Prannoy, the ninth seed enjoying the best season of his career so far, was persistent, clever and composed through the match that lasted 68 minutes. Coming from a game down, where Axelsen dominated as he does, he capitalised on his opponent's lapses and stayed laser-focused to dethrone the reigning Olympic and world champion.

He regrouped after losing the first game and won the second and third games - staying toe-to-toe with Axelsen to slowly take the lead and frustrate the world No 1 with his trademark backhand, precise winners and an unflappable attitude.

Prannoy was coming off another three-game battle against 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew, which was one of the most thrilling matches of the ongoing World Championships. He will next play last year's silver medallist and third seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn for a place in the final.