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Australian Open: Srikanth Kidambi to meet Olympic champion Chen Long in the final

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Srikanth Kidambi
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Modified 24 Jun 2017, 13:36 IST
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An in-form Srikanth Kidambi will meet the Olympic champion Chen Long in the final of the Crown Group Australian Open 2017 on Sunday as he looks to win his second consecutive Superseries title in as many weeks. The Indonesia Open winner put up a stupendous performance to oust the World No. 4 Shi Yuqi of China, 21-10, 21-14 in just 37 minutes.

The former World No. 1 Chen Long, on the other hand, had a tougher path to the final as he needed three games to prevail over the 14th ranked Lee Hyun II of Korea, 26-24, 15-21, 21-17 in 1 hour 8 minutes.

The Indian’s record against the Chinese superstar is a dismal 0-5 but, considering the confidence that Srikanth has been oozing all week in Sydney, their past record might have little to do in the summit clash.

The World No. 11 showed a lot of that conviction in today’s semi-final against Shi Yuqi and played his best match in a long while. Brutal, brilliant – Srikanth’s aggressive game was right on point that gave the World No. 4 no chance to settle into the match.

He built an 11-7 advantage and did not have to look back after that. The irrepressible Srikanth extended his lead from 14-9 before wrapping it up at 21-10.

The second game was dominated by fast-paced attacking shots from both but it could not bring any change in fortunes for the Chinese. Srikanth controlled the forecourt beautifully, making regular forays into the net to throw his opponent off his rhythm.

His power-packed smashes punctuated by his deceptive net shots pretty much took the wind out of Yuqi’s sails. As the Sydney Olympic Park reverberated with chants of "Jeetega Bhai Jeetega, India Jeetega!", the Indian No. 1 made it 11-8 at the interval.

Srikanth soon opened up a 15-8 gap only to see his young opponent taking three points on the trot to reduce the deficit to 11-15.

But that was the last time the Chinese could produce some resistance for Srikanth soon grabbed the win with a huge crosscourt smash.

With this triumph, Srikanth becomes the sixth player ever to reach three Superseries finals in a row, joining Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan, Chen Long, Sony Dwi Kuncuro and Bao Chunlai.

Published 24 Jun 2017, 13:29 IST
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