New world No 4 Kidambi Srikanth entered a remarkable fifth Superseries final in this calendar year after beating compatriot HS Prannoy in three games in the semi-finals of the French Open. The 24-year-old now has a chance to win his fourth Superseries title of the year and second successive one on Sunday.
Srikanth did not start the match well as Prannoy took a 7-3 lead to begin the first game. The Guntur lad fought back briefly to take a 10-8 lead before Prannoy launched a fightback to take the first game easily 21-14.
The second game was a tight affair with both players going neck and neck. Prannoy had a 19-17 lead towards the end and was only two points away from clinching the match. However, Srikanth fought back to win four straight points to take the game 21-19 and force a decider.
The third game was again en extremely tense affair with the score being 10-10 at the halfway point. Prannoy won three straight points to open up a slender lead, which he kept till 18-16, again giving the impression that he was going to run away with the game. However, Srikanth ensured an encore as he won five straight points to take the match 14-21, 21-19, 21-18 in one hour and two minutes.
In the final, Srikanth will face the winner of the second semi-final between Denmark’s Anders Antonsen and Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto.
Sindhu has an off day
In the women’s singles draw, world No 2 PV Sindhu lost her semi-final match in straight games to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi. The fifth-ranked Japanese beat Sindhu 21-14, 21-9 to set up a summit clash against world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who defeated China’s He Bingjao in three games in the other semi-final.
Sindhu and Yamaguchi went neck-and-neck to begin the match until the score was tied 14-14 in the first game. From here, Yamaguchi unleashed a flurry of smashes to which Sindhu had no response, as the Japanese won seven straight points to take the first game 21-14.
It was more of the same to begin the second game, as Yamaguchi extended her run to 13 straight points before Sindhu could get one back for herself. At 11-2 to the Japanese in the interval of the second game, it looked unlikely that Sindhu would mount a comeback from that point. Yamaguchi eventually won the second game 21-9 and moved on to her second final in two weeks.