Kidambi Srikanth to face HS Prannoy in French Open Superseries semifinal
What’s the story?
Its going to be India vs India in the men’s singles semifinal of the French Open Superseries, as Kidambi Srikanth faces compatriot HS Prannoy on Saturday.
Both Srikanth and Prannoy won their respective quarterfinals on Friday night (or the wee hours of Saturday morning for the Indian fans), as they booked themselves a spot in the semifinal.
In case you didn’t know…
Both Srikanth and Prannoy are two shuttlers, who have been training with each other for a long time, at the Pullela Gopichand Academy, and probably already know everything about each other, now.
Kidami Srikanth has been on tremendous form this season, clinching the Indonesia Open, the Australian Open, and the Denmark Open. He had also made it to the summit clash of the Singapore Open, making it four Superseries finals for him. A victory against Prannoy would make it five Superseries final for Srikanth, the first time any Indian shuttler would have achieved such a feat.
Prannoy on the other hand, has been on erratic form this season, but has shown the capability to win against the big opponents. His upset wins over Olympic medalists like Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long have already gone into Indian badminton folklore.
Heart of the matter
Srikanth has had a relatively easy start to the French Open Superseries campaign, after he got a first round bye against Fabian Roth of Germany, followed by a straight games victory against Wong Wing Ki Vincent.
However, he had a bit of a difficult quarter final, when he went up against world no 5 Shi Yuqi. The Chinese shuttler stormed the first game 21-8, and Srikanth looked completely down and out at that moment. However, the 24-year-old showed great character to make a comeback from there, and win it 8-21, 21-19, 21-9.
Prannoy has also had a relatively steady course through the tournament, having defeated the likes of Lee Hyun-Il, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Jeon Hyeok-Jin, on his way to the semis. Incredibly, he is yet to drop a game this tournament.
It can be said that whoever wins this semifinal of the French Open will be the favourite to win the title, as they are likely to face either world no 17 Andres Antonsen of Denmark, or world no 40 Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in the summit clash.
The fact that there are two Indians in the semifinal of the French Open bodes well for Indian badminton, especially in the men’s singles category. For a long, long time, the men’s singles category has been overlooked, due to the rise of Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu. However, it seems that the likes of Srikanth and Prannoy are scripting their own history with their good performances.