Krishna Prasad, Vishnu Vardhan go down fighting in Orleans Masters doubles final

The Indian badminton pair won the first game against their English opponents but failed to see the match off.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Badmintonphoto

India’s Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala went down to English fourth seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy 21-19, 14-21, 19-21 in the Orleans Masters 2021 men’s doubles final on Sunday.

Despite the loss, the young Indian badminton pair, playing for the first time together at this year’s Orleans Masters, put up a spirited effort against the much-experienced opponents.

Lane and Vendy have been a set team since 2016 and are ranked world No. 18 in men’s doubles rankings.

Comparatively, 21-year-old Krishna Prasad Garaga is world No. 192 in men’s doubles while Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala was playing in his maiden senior BWF Tour event.

The Indians came out all guns blazing in the first game and took the English team by surprise. Garaga-Panjala raced to a commanding 11-6 lead heading into the break.

Lane-Vendy rallied after the restart to reduce Garaga and Panjala’s lead to just a single point at 18-17. The young Indian duo, though, held their nerves to see off the first game 21-19.

The second game saw the expected response from the English fourth seeds. Lane and Vendy played a steady game to suppress the Indian duo’s attacking instincts and won it 21-14 to force the decider.

To their credit, the inexperienced Indian duo didn’t let their shoulders drop in the third game and fought the English players tooth and nail for every point.

Lane and Vendy led 11-8 at the break but a gritty display from Garaga and Panjala saw them level it up at 12-12.

What ensued was a scrap to the finish line with the Indians’ unconventional aggressive game featuring late dives and fast net game going up against the technically sound style of the English team.

After a gruelling conclusion, Vendy and Lane’s experience persevered as they won the final game 21-19.

Garaga and Panjala were the only Indians in the final of the event after Saina Nehwal had exited the tournament in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Indian women’s doubles pair Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and mixed doubles pair Dhruv Kapila and Ponnappa had also bowed out from the semis.

Lead photo: Badmintonphoto - Courtesy of BWF