India’s K Srikanth beat compatriot B Sai Praneeth 25-23, 21-17 in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open Superseries on Friday in a match that lasted 43 minutes. This was only the second time in seven meetings that Srikanth had got the better of Sai Praneeth. Their last meeting was in the final of the Singapore Open, which Sai Praneeth had won.
The 16th-ranked Sai Praneeth started the first game well and was leading in the first half, before Srikanth caught up with him to make it 10-10. The two players exchanged the next six points, before Sai Praneeth won three straight points to make it 16-13. Srikanth, however, again fought back by anticipating his opponent’s strokes very well to win four straight points and take the lead.
Srikanth managed to get three game-point opportunities, but Sai Praneeth did not give up and snatched four straight points of his own to take a 21-20 lead. Both players, who know each other’s games very well, refused to give up until the score was 23-23, before Srikanth managed to win two straight points to seal the game.
Sai Praneeth again started the second game well, taking a 4-1 lead, before Srikanth won five consecutive points to take the lead. Sai Praneeth was now beginning to look fatigued and Srikanth capitalised on that by forcing errors on his opponent. Sai Praneeth fought back to make it 9-9, but that was all he could muster as Srikanth raced into a lead and kept it until he crossed the finish line.
Srikanth will face the winner of the match between fourth seed Shi Yuqi of China and Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.