He was confident. And that's what mattered in the end. It took 45 minutes but after three well-fought games, he got the desired result – a first-round victory. But it was not just any win. It was a victory over the world No 6!
K Srikanth could not stop smiling. The 20-year-old had shown the door to Denmark’s Jan O’ Jorgensen, who was seeded fourth at the India Open Super Series. “I got almost 90 per cent of my strokes right,” an elated Srikanth gushed after the 21-7, 18-21, 21-12 triumph.
Having lost a closely-fought battle to Jorgensen in the Swiss Open last month, Srikanth wanted revenge. “He had gotten slightly tired during the Swiss Open but today he was right on mark,” claimed national coach Pullela Gopichand, in whose academy Srikanth has been practicing for the last four years.
Taking up the sport for fun 10 years back in Guntur, inspired by elder brother K Nandagopal, he initially honed his skills at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh in Khammam. Essentially a good doubles player with various domestic titles under his belt, Gopichand asked Srikanth to focus on singles.
“It was after winning the Maldives International last year that I shifted focus to singles,” said the tall lanky shuttler.
Ask Gopichand about the shift, and the former All-England champion responds, “If you play him, you realise the talent he possesses. It’s very useful in singles. His versatility will help him.”
Talk of versatility and one realises Srikanth was the top junior in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
So did his doubles experience help him in taking out the Dane on Wednesday? “Immensely, it helped when I played defence on court. Not only today, doubles always helps now when I play singles,” feels Srikanth.