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Indonesia Open: Srikanth Kidambi stuns World No.1, HS Prannoy squanders match points

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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945   //    17 Jun 2017, 17:40 IST
Srikanth’s ultra aggressive game was on point right from the start 

On a day of contrasting fortunes for the Indian men at the BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier in Jakarta, Srikanth Kidambi produced a stunning performance to knock out the World No.1 Son Wan Ho to enter the final. The Singapore Open runner-up needed one hour 12 minutes and three match points to close out a thrilling 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 victory over the Korean second seed.

But his compatriot HS Prannoy was not so lucky. The giant-killer squandered five match points to go down fighting to the 47th ranked Kazumasa Sakai of Japan, 21-17, 26-28, 18-21 in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Srikanth’s ultra aggressive game was on point right from the start as the Korean was way too error-prone in the initial stages. With his deft touches at the net perfectly working, the Guntur-born shuttler built an 11-6 lead at half-time.

As the flurry of errors surprisingly continued from Son’s racquet, Srikanth marched ahead to 18-12 before wrapping up the opener, 21-15.

In the second game too, the Indian was in control till 6-4 following which Son Wan Ho started injecting pace and power into his game thus making life difficult for the Indian.

He levelled at 8-8 and then broke away from 13-13 to set up a decider.

The high-intensity third game swung both ways and was even till 10-10. The Korean jumped out to 13-10 after the break only to see Srikanth’s powerful smashes helping the Indian to come back for 14-14.

Persistent returning from both players kept the latter stages of the thrilling decider all even as both fought their hearts out. Srikanth held his nerves and found his magic reflexes to eke out the big win after that.

This is Srikanth’s second consecutive Superseries final having reached the Singapore Open summit clash in April.

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Earlier in the day, HS Prannoy looked poised to make his maiden Superseries final. The Kerala shuttler, who had accounted for superstars Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long at this tournament, led 21-17, 19-18 but could not wrap up the victory despite being awarded five match points in the second game.

The Japanese capitalised on it to produce a strong third game and never gave the Indian much chance. Prannoy, however, did get to 17-18 that raised faint hopes of a fightback but Sakai was careful not to let him in and grabbed the win soon after.

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