French Open SS: Srikanth Kidambi becomes first Indian to win four Superseries titles in one calendar year
Indian shuttler Srikanth Kidambi is in rarefied air following his title win at the French Open Superseries in Paris on Sunday. The 21-14, 21-13 win that he secured over the 40th ranked Japanese qualifier, Kenta Nishimoto in the final has not only given him a staggering fourth Superseries title of the year but has also ensured that he joins elite company.
This being his sixth career Superseries triumph, he now joins the likes of Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long as the fourth male player to capture more than five titles at this level. Lee leads the standings with a whopping 45 Superseries titles, Lin Dan is next with 21 and Chen Long has 19 since the Superseries era began in 2007.
Series of firsts for Srikanth
The list of Srikanth’s accomplishments does not end here after a superlative show at the Denmark Open and the French Open. He is the first shuttler from India to emerge victorious in the French capital since the tournament attained the status of a Superseries event in 2007.
Saina Nehwal was the only other Indian to have made it as far as the summit clash only to lose it to Minatsu Mitani of Japan in 2012.
Srikanth also became the only Indian to win as many as four Superseries titles in a season, with his other wins coming at the Indonesia Open and the Australian Open in June and in Denmark just last week. The only final loss that Srikanth suffered was at the Singapore Open in April, which triggered his stupendous run.
Even the Indian shuttle queen Saina Nehwal trails him, with her best being a three-title haul in 2010.
Not only that, the Guntur-born ace managed to stun the badminton world by winning back-to-back Superseries titles in consecutive weeks twice this year. In June, he did it for the first time when he conquered Indonesia and Australia in successive weeks.
With his twin triumphs in Odense and Paris, he has now done it again which makes him the second man since Lee Chong Wei to do it. The Malaysian legend achieved that feat in 2012 when he won the Korea Open and the Malaysian Open back-to-back and repeated it at the Japan Open and the Denmark Open later in the year.
Will move to career-best ranking
Srikanth's success in these last couple of weeks will also be rewarded with a rise in the rankings. The Pullela Gopichand protege, who is now fourth, will jump two spots to be second when the new BWF rankings are released on Thursday, November 2, 2017.
If he can continue this immaculate form in the China Open and the Hong Kong Open in November, he can make a push for the numero uno ranking, something that Prakash Padukone remains the only Indian man to achieve.