Badminton

Kidambi Srikanth clinches Indonesia Open Superseries title by beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai

The 24-year-old Indian won in straight games – 21-11, 21-19 – in 37 minutes.

India’s Kidambi Srikanth clinched the Indonesia Open Superseries Premier title after beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai in straight games in the final on Sunday. Srikanth won the match 21-11, 21-19 in 37 minutes. This is Srikanth’s third Superseries title win and first after his ankle injury last year.

This was the first time ever that Srikanth and Sakai were facing each other. Srikanth is higher up the rankings – 22 compared with the Japanese’s 47. The difference in the ranking showed in the first game, which the Indian breezed through in just over 13 minutes. Srikanth had nine game-point opportunities at 20-11, but needed only one as he closed it out.

Srikanth had totally bossed the net play in the first game and Sakai looked helpless for most of it, but the Japanese is usually a slow starter. Sakai picked up his game in the second game as he took a 11-6 lead going into the interval. The errors had begun to creep into Srikanth’s game and it looked like the match would be heading into a deciding game.

However, Srikanth was in no mood of stretching the match into a third game as he fought back to level the score 13-13 in the second. The two players fought tooth and nail after that to take the game to 19-19, before Srikanth won the next two points to clinch the game, match and title.

The 24-year-old Indian would later admit that his fightback to level the scores in the second game was the turning point. Srikanth is now the only Indian male to win a Superseries Premier, Superseries and Grand Prix Gold tournaments.

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