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Srikanth Kidambi clinches Indonesia Open title

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
18 Jun 2017, 16:16 IST
Srikanth Kidambi.JPG
Srikanth Kidambi sails through in straight games in the final

Six months after coming back from a stress fracture in his ankle, Indian shuttler Srikanth Kidambi gets back to the winners’ circle by capturing the BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier title at Jakarta on Sunday. Currently ranked 22on his ankle, Indian shuttler Srikanth Kidambi gets back to the winners’ circle by capturing the BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier title at Jakarta on Sunday. Currently ranked 22nd, the former World No. 3 staved off a late resistance from the 47th ranked Kazumasa Sakai of Japan, 21-11, 21-19 to win his first title of the season.

This is his first title since winning the South Asian Games gold back in February, 2016 and his first win on the BWF circuit since the Syed Modi International crown a month earlier that same year.February 2016 and his first win on the BWF circuit since the Syed Modi International crown a month earlier that same year.

This is his third triumph at the Superseries level after the China Open Superseries Premier win in 2014 and the India Open Superseries the following year.

This also helps the Guntur-born Pullela Gopichand protégé erase the setback that he had at the Singapore Open final in April. A tired and listless Srikanth squandered a one-game lead to slump to a three-game defeat to his academy mate Sai Praneeth

This time, there was no such mistake.

The 24-year-old had been quietly building confidence with every win and his clarity of thoughts under pressure was visible in every match. He accounted for the fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen in the pre-quarter-finals but his biggest win of the tournament was his thrilling three-game upset of the World No. 1 Son Wan Ho in the semi-finals.

In the summit clash, Srikanth was on song right from the beginning. Kazumasa Sakai showed some stunning resilience in the semi-finals when he saved five match points to oust the giant-killer HS Prannoy.

But he could hardly show any resistance against Srikanth who looked sharp and determined. With his aggressive game working like magic, Srikanth stormed ahead to 11-8 at the break and totally grabbed control of the proceedings since then.

It was only after the Indian had raced ahead to 19-9 that the Japanese could finally bag a couple of points.

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The second game was, however, different. Sakai got plenty of opportunities as Srikanth became passive and slow. He led 7-3 which he extended to 11-6 at the interval.

But after the break, a rejuvenated Srikanth found his attacking game again to even the score at 13-13. The later stages proved to be tense as both players remained on level terms till 19-19.

Srikanth was awarded the match point when the net cord deflected the shuttle and he soon made use of his golden chance after a 37-minute battle.

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