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Kidambi Srikanth to the ‘Four’: Indian wins French Open Superseries

Kidambi Srikanth defeated Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in straight games to win the French Open Superseries. This was the Indian’s fourth Superseries crown this year

other sports Updated: Oct 29, 2017 22:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Kidambi Srikanth,French Open Superseries,badminton
Kidambi Srikanth celebrates after winning the French Open Superseries defeating Kenta Nishimoto. (AP)

For Kidambi Srikanth, 2017 is turning out to be a career-transforming year with the height of success increasing with every passing tournament.

With a 34-minute facile win in the French Open final on Sunday, the Pullela Gopichand protégé has now gone on to win as many as four Superseries crowns till date this year --- a landmark no other Indian has achieved -- and sixth overall.

Following his runners-up show at the Singapore Open in April, where he lost to friend and compatriot B Sai Praneeth, Srikanth has gone on to claim the men’s singles titles at Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and now France.

READ | Don’t know what the future holds: Kidambi Srikanth after Australian Open glory

Such has been his dominance that World No 4 Srikanth has won 37 and lost only eight matches played in 2017, with a winning percentage of 82.2.

And on Sunday, the eighth-seeded Srikanth showed qualifier Kenta Nishimoto how a top-5 player should play, drubbing the Japanese 21-14, 21-13 to win the final in Paris after clinching the summit clash exactly a week back in Odense.

With the win, the 24-year-old extended his head-to-head record to 2-0 over the Japanese following their previous encounter in the first round of Singapore Open.

READ | Kidambi Srikanth to get Rs 5 lakh cash reward from Badminton Association of India

In the final Superseries of the year outside Asia, Srikanth, typically, was all calm and poise. He attacked from the start, with his smashes as well as at the net, tapping in drops when he needed to, for quick points.

India's Srikanth Kidambi plays a shot against Japan's Kenta Nishimoto during their men's final match of the French Open badminton tournament in Paris, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) ( AP )

Nishimoto gave a tough fight to the Guntur-born early on to take a 9-5 lead. But significantly, Srikanth managed to turn the tables and get the lead (11-9) at the break.

The 24-year-old Indian displayed tremendous skill and prowess through his patience and maturity of shots that befits a top-5 player, showing the World No40 Japanese his spot in the international badminton circuit.

Some beautiful backhand crosscourt drops followed by fearsome smashes were enough for the new badminton star from India to seal the first game with ease in only 16 minutes. The Indian made it look quite easy but one has to keep in mind that he was down 5-9 at the start.

Srikanth had done the job by now. He had turned the tables. Nishimoto, who had stunned Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei in the first round, never managed to maintain his speed, having given it all away at the beginning of the match, and ran out of steam.

Srikanth, on the other hand, stepped on the gas and took the lead in the second game right from the start. In no time, the Indian reached 11-6 at the break.

It was only a matter of time before Srikanth closed the game and match to clinch the sixth Superseries crown of his career.

Srikanth totally dominated the contest, bagging 42 of the 69 points played in the match.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 21:59 IST