B Sai Praneeth lifted his maiden Superseries title on Sunday with a 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 win against fellow Indian Kidambi Srikanth to win the Singapore Open crown in a match that lasted 54 minutes.
Srikanth was expertly setting up his points in the first game after getting off to a rusty start. His cross-court smashes in particular, were exquisite, and helped him reel off five straight points with consummate ease at one stage.
Srikanth, though, struggled at the net, which is what Sai Praneeth regularly cashed in on throughout the contest.
Despite the former being in cruise control at one stage with a lead of 14-8, the tenacious Sai Praneeth fought his way back in the contest to narrow down the lead and and went down fighting at 17-21 in a game that lasted for 19 minutes.
The next 19 minutes were a game-altering one and one where Srikanth buckled under pressure, failing to cling on to a substantial 6-1 lead. Srikanth chipping away with ease with strong forehand returns found the going tough as soon as Sai Praneeth found out the former at the net.
From being 2-7 down, Sai Praneeth, astonishingly, took the lead at 9-8. In addition to his net-play, Sai Praneeth outplayed his opponent with his line play, and a much improved defense, impressively dealing with Srikanth’s jump-smashes. Srikanth’s woes at the net also came to haunt him in a crucial stage was the the lead oscillated back and forth relentlessly.
A service error and a wide return handed the second game to Sai Praneeth, who also won 21-17.
For a third game, Srikanth relinquished his lead and with that the game. Sai Praneeth was getting increasingly better with his line play and so were his smashes. It only took 16 minutes for the 24-year-old to zoom to victory, which was clinched with a sloppy return from Srikanth.