Super Srikanth reigns supreme

Super Srikanth reigns supreme

Super Srikanth reigns supreme

Kidambi Srikanth is elated after his title triumph at Indonesia Open and believes the win has come just at the right time for him.

Srikanth, 24, beat Kazumasa Sakai of Japan to win his second Super Series Premier title. It has been a fantastic week for the shuttler from Guntur who had beaten World No 1 Son Wan Ho to reach the final. He also became the first Indian male shuttler to win the Indonesia Open.

"It has been some time I won a Super Series title. I battled injuries after Olympics, but I am happy I fought back, and reached another final after the Singapore Open," Srikanth said.

"I am very happy with the way I am playing. I am making good use of my attack and adapting to conditions. Today I started off really well, and even though he (Sakai) played really well in the second game, I fought back.”

Apart from Srikanth, H S Prannoy too put up an impressive performance in the tournament, beating Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei and current Olympic champion Chen Long of China en route to the semifinal.

"This is a great phase for Indian men shuttlers. In the past we had not performed so consistently, but now we are doing it. I feel the coach Mulyo Handoyo has a done a fantastic job on our fitness," said Srikanth who will next play the Australian Open.

Srikanth, who had a long injury lay-off after the Rio Olympics, said it was tough to come out from the injury.

“I was out of badminton for sometime after the Olympics, it was the longest time that I have been out ever since I started playing, so that phase kept motivating me. It was tough to come out of that injury phase and so I am really happy with this win,” he added.

Playing in tricky conditions, Srikanth took time to gauge the conditions as his initial returns went wide.

But his rival also suffered because of similar unforced errors and the Indian led 6-4 early on. He consolidated his lead to reach 11-8 at the break.

After the interval, Srikanth continued to dominate the proceedings. His net dribbles were better than Sakai’s and the Indian zoomed to a 19-11 lead and sealed it with two lucky net chord points.
After the change of ends, Sakai was more aggressive in his approach and produced an improved net game to dominate the rallies.

Soon, the Japanese was leading 7-3 as he entered the break with an 11-6 lead with the help of a backhand return near the net.

After the interval, Srikanth’s aggressive game gave him the desired results. He turned the tables and caught up with the Japanese at 13-13 with an on-rushing smash at the net.

The duo moved neck and neck after that till 19-19 before Srikanth produced two fantastic smashes to seal the deal and punch the air in celebration.

Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for Srikanth.

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