World Media

Srikanth beats China's Shi Yuqi to enter Australian Open final


Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth extended his stellar run of form to become the first Indian male shuttler to win two consecutive Super Series title after he won the Australia Open and etch his name in the history of Indian badminton. He also won the title at Indonesian Open tournament last week.

Srikanth ousted Sai Praneeth in the quarterfinals after losing to him in the Singapore final.

The former World No. 1 Chen Long, on the other hand, had a tougher path to the final as he needed three games to prevail over the 14 ranked Lee Hyun II of Korea, 26-24, 15-21, 21-17 in 1 hour 8 minutes. A focused Srikanth then changed his strategy and started playing an attacking game to edge past the World No.6.

Though Srikanth has beaten top players of the world once in a while in the past, the Guntur-born is now making it a regular habit. But this time, Long could not launch a comeback.

At the end of of a tightly contested first game, Srikanth showed he was not overwhelmed by the occasion when he calmly guided Chen's strong smash across the net to win his second game point.

"I don't know what the future holds for me but so far this is the best I have played".

It was Prakash Padukone and P Gopichand who were the legends of the men in India for the badminton, but now Srikanth has ensured that many more kids will take the racket to follow their passion for badminton.

But that was the last time the Chinese could produce some resistance for Srikanth soon grabbed the win with a huge crosscourt smash. However, Srikanth seemed determined to end his winless streak against his fancied rival and led 11-9 at the lemon break of the second game. As his coach, I am very satisfied with his performance and the way he won both the series - from the player against who he won and with a brilliant score!

Srikanth, now ranked 11 in the world, will face Olympic champion and former world No.1 Chen Long in the Australian Open today.

The second game began with an engaging baseline rally, which ended with Srikanth smashing his way to earn the first point.