Fourth time's the charm: When Prakash Padukone made history without dropping a game

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When Prakash Padukone won the All England Open on March 23 1980, it was a seminal moment for Indian badminton. As he put it in an interview with ESPN, "Indian badminton came to be recognised as a force to reckon with," after that achievement.

We take a look at some of his standout numbers from that win 40 years ago.


Padukone is the first Indian in history to win the most prestigious and oldest badminton tournament. It's worth bearing in mind that badminton had not yet become a part of the Olympics back then and the All England Open was the biggest tournament in the sport.


Padukone was just the second Indian to reach the final of the tournament after Prakash Nath, who had lost in the final of the 1947 edition to Denmark's Conny Jepsen. Interestingly, Nath faced compatriot Devinder Mohan in the quarterfinal and they decided to not play the match, instead deciding a winner by a coin toss.


Padukone entered the tournament in great form as he had won the Denmark Open and Swedish Open just before playing the All England.


The number of games lost by Padukone in the five matches he played over the course of the tournament. This was Padukone's fourth appearance at the tournament; he lost in the first round in his maiden appearance in 1973 and then made the last eight in 1977 and 1978.


Padukone defeated the top two seeds in the semifinal and final. He defeated top-seeded Morten Frost Hansen 15-8, 15-10 in the semifinal and second-seeded Indonesian Liem Swie King 15-3, 15-10 in the final. King had won the tournament in 1978 and 1979 and would win again in 1981. Padukone had lost to him in the quarterfinals of the 1977 edition. King finished as the runner-up in 1976, 1977, 1980 and 1984. Frost had even greater success at the tournament, finishing as the champion in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987. He finished second-best in 1983, 1985, 1988 and 1989. Padukone made the final again in 1981 but lost to King.


Number of former or future champions that Padukone defeated over the course of the tournament. Other than King and Hansen, he defeated Denmark's Svend Pri in the quarterfinals. Pri had won the singles title in 1975 and the mixed doubles title in 1967, 1971 and 1972.


Number of points conceded by Padukone in the round of 16 and last eight matches that year, the joint-lowest for any men's singles player for those two rounds in that edition. He defeated Indonesia's Hadiyanto 15-0, 15-10 in the last 16, while his scoreline against Pri was 15-4, 15-4.


Padukone was remarkably consistent at the tournament as he made the least eight in each of the seven editions from 1980 to 1986. He went as far as the semis in 1982, 1983 and 1986. Overall, he had nine quarterfinal, four semifinal and two final appearances at the tournament, all of which continue to remain the most by an Indian. Saina Nehwal also has nine quarterfinal appearances at the tournament, beside three semifinal and one final appearance. She lost in the 2015 final to Carolina Marin.