Despite being ill upon arriving in Sydney, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth has overcome all the odds to defeat some of the toughest opponents and be crowned the Australian Open Super Series champion. He clinched Australian open super series cup by trouncing world top-ranked Chinese shuttler Chen Long.
Srikanth displayed a committed gameplay in his dominating run to outclass Olympic champion Cheng Long of China 22-20, 21-16 in the final in Sydney. This was also Srikanth's third straight Super Series final after playing in Singapore and Indonesia. In April, B Sai Praneeth won in Singapore, getting the better of Srikanth.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also congratulated Srikanth, who has entered the final of three Superseries events in a row.
Chen Long is a former Olympic champion, having clinched gold in badminton in the Rio Olympics.
Srikanth continued to move ahead after the break and reached game-point when the Chinaman faltered with a net-stroke. In the second game, the Indian took a 6-2 lead and never allowed Chen, the two-time World and All England Champion, to bounce back.
Ace badminton player Kidambi Srikanth has swiftly exploded on the global stage. I am so proud of him, not just as his father but also as an Indian", he added.proud parents: K. Radha Mukunda and Kidambi Krishna, Srikanth's parentsWhen asked about the celebrations for Srikanth's win, Kidambi Krishna said, "Many locals came to our house and wished us.
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"It's just that I'm not thinking of winning or losing".
Srikanth was in complete control of the second game, taking a 19-13 lead at one point.
However, beating Chen Long in a tournament final propels Srikanth into badminton's stratosphere. "Going into the final against Chen Long, I wasn't under much pressure and the plan was not to give him easy points".
"He only reached the semifinals of a junior national, and only won in doubles", said Srikanth's brother K Nandagopal.
The second game began with an engaging baseline rally, which ended with Srikanth smashing his way to earn the first point.
In many ways, Srikanth is a combination of the two maestros the nation has been proud to have, the dogged Prakash Padukone and the gritty Gopi Chand, both great ambassadors of the sport.