Srikanth seals maiden title

Srikanth seals maiden title

Indian youngster tames local hope Ponsana to announce his arrival

Srikanth seals maiden title

K Srikanth became the latest badminton sensation to emerge from India as he lifted his maiden men’s singles title with a stunning straight-game triumph over top-seeded local favourite Boonsak Ponsana at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold here on Sunday.

The 20-year-old from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, beat World No 8 Ponsana 21-16, 21-12 in a 34-minute match to script the biggest win of his still nascent career.

“When I went into the court, I was pretty okay. I was not thinking anything. He was the local guy and the court was also with him. I knew I had a 50-50 chance even though he is world number eight,” the jubilant youngster told PTI.

“I just wanted to give my 100 per cent. I was focusing on one point at a time and I knew it was all about who plays well on that particular day,” he said.

The 13th-seeded Indian matched his fancied rival in all departments of the game in what turned out to be a lop-sided contest.

“The win has not sunk in. I am still pretty excited. I spoke to my parents and they are also very happy. I will be travelling to Hyderabad tonight and probably fly back to Singapore next Friday or Saturday,” he said.

The first game went neck and neck before Srikanth broke free to notch up six consecutive points to win the game and wrest the initiative.

“The first game was tough. I was leading by 2-3 points from the start but in the end he was like 15-16 but he made some unforced errors as I played some attacking badminton. It worked as I got four points on the trot and that made all the difference,” he said.

In the second game, Ponsana had a two-point lead to start with but Srikanth made amends quite quickly to reel off eight successive points and seal the game and the match in his favour.

“In the second game I played pretty well, I was leading 11-5 and continued in the same vein. I didn’t relax and stayed focussed. I could see that although the crowd was supporting him, he looked tense and turned the pressure on himself,” he said.

Srikanth had previously reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Junior Championships and entered the pre-quarterfinals of the World Junior Championships in 2011.

Indians win title

Indian duo of K Nandagopal and K Maneesha clinched the Li-Ning Maldives International Badminton Challenge mixed doubles title after registering a 21-16, 23-21 win over Dae Sung Kim and Bo Kyung Oh of Korea in Male on Sunday.

Chetan Anand lost 21-16, 19-21, 16-21 to Muhammad Bayu Pangisthu of Indonesia in the men’s singles semifinal.

In men’s doubles, V Diju and Alwin Francis were outplayed 16-21, 16-21 by the Indonesian duo of Arya Maulana Adiartama and Alfian Eko Prasetya. Sanyogita Ghorpade and K Maneesha lost to Melati Daeva Oktaviani and Rosyita Eka Putri Sari 14-21, 14-21 in the quarterfinals of the women’s doubles.