PV Sindhu blown away, K Srikanth in French Open badminton final after thriller
Saturday turned out to be mixed day for Indian shuttlers in Paris. While PV Sindhu was blown away by Japanese fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles semi-final, Kidambi Srikanth clawed back twice from the brink of defeat to oust compatriot HS Prannoy in a thriller and proceed to the men’s singles final at the French Open Superseries.
World No 5 Akane needed just 37 minutes to move past second-seeded Sindhu 21-14, 21-9 in the $325,000 event. This was Akane’s second victory over Sindhu in five meetings and first since 2013.
The Japanese has now reached her successive Superseries finals after also making the summit clash of Denmark Open Superseries Premier last weekend, where she lost to former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
In the first meeting between the two in 2017, it turned out to be a very close contest at the start. Neither shuttler was willing to give any room and it was neck-and-neck with both playing defensively at the net.
Akane was quite easily able to match Sindhu’s strokes and managed an 11-10 lead at the break. The contest was very close till 14-all but a sluggish Sindhu let Akane pull away just when it mattered to pocket the next seven points and take the game 21-14.
Akane raised the bar in the second game as Sindhu proved to be no match for the Japanese. The Hyderabadi started making casual errors and Akane capitalised on them to clinch the game and match quickly. The Japanese dominated the match, winning 42 of the 65 points played.
Akane will face top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the final on Sunday.
A little while later Srikanth trumped Prannoy 14-21, 21-19, 21-18 in a thriller which lasted an hour and two minutes.
Having clinched the first game with ease, Prannoy was on the verge of winning the encounter and entering his maiden Superseries final at 19-17 in the second game. But nerves cost Prannoy the game and Srikanth won the next four points to push the match into the decider.
Prannoy was again 18-16 ahead in the third game but the World No 4 Srikanth won the next five points to wrap up the game and match in his favour and qualify for his second successive and fifth of the year Superseries final.
Srikanth took a 3-1 lead in career meetings over Prannoy and will face Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto on Sunday against whom the Guntur-born lad has a 1-0 head-to-head record.