So it was a great Super Sunday for Indian fans with an awesome line-up of sporting events ranging from badminton to hockey and cricket of course. First up it was Kidambi Srikanth in the Indonesian Open 2017 final up against the Japanese Kazumasa Sakai.
The road to the finals:
The road to finals for both of these players was a tough one as each one of them had to put up a strong fight in every match en route finals. Almost all of their matches being a three-setter.
Talking about the Indian shuttler, Srikanth displayed a wonderful combination of grit and determination along with some quality play. With each match, he became better and better upstaging Wing-ki Vincent, Tzu-Wei Wang, and Jan O Jorgensen – the fourth seed. But his best performance came up when it mattered the most as he outclassed World No. 1 Son Wan-Ho in the semi-finals to seal the grand finale berth.
Whereas Kazumasa Sakai, a qualifier, showcased excellent shuttling skills throughout the tournament. After entering the main draw, the Japanese outplayed Wei Feng Chong, Emil Holst, and Rajiv Ouseph – his higher ranked opponents. In the penultimate match, Sakai dashed the hopes of an all-India final defeating the in-form H. S. Prannoy to enter the summit clash. He is only the sixth player in the history of badminton to reach a Super Series Premier Final through qualifying stage.
The Indonesian Open 2017 final:
Starting off the proceedings, there were some easy pickings for Kidambi Srikanth to overpower the player on the other side. The World No. 47 Japanese was never really into the game as Kidambi capitalized on his opponent’s loose shots and dominated the net play. It was mostly a one-sided affair and eventually went in the favor of the World No. 22 quite comfortably with a scoreline of 21-11.
Following the first set, Sakai put up a fightback in the second set to redeem himself and stay alive in the match. Improving his game, Kazumasa made a solid start with some spectacular smashes to outplay Srikanth. Eventually, he got a lead of 5 points at the mid-game interval with 11-6 in his favor. However, it was short-lived as the Indian shuttler inched closer on the lead and won 7 of 9 points in quick succession to equalize the game at 13 all. It was a neck to neck battle thereon, none of them giving away. As the match proceeded further, there came an attacking shot from Srikanth to level the score at 19 a piece. After this, the Japanese fall prey to Srikanth’s fabulous shot making ability conceding two points back-to-back.
The road ahead:
Even though the tournament was full of surprises, the fixture of the final match did not have much to offer. Playing his second successive Super Series final, Srikanth looked determined to win this title. Last time it was his compatriot Sai Praneeth who eluded him the top spot at Singapore Open. He did not fail this time around and took home the gold medal from Indonesia winning it by 21-11, 21-19 in the final.
Coming off an injury from earlier this year, Kidambi Srikanth has been quite impressive on the international circuit since then. His fantastic performance last week and the maiden Indonesian Open crown will be a definite confidence booster for him in the upcoming championships. Next in the line for him is the Australian Open this week. Wishing the best to Srikanth and all the Indian shuttlers in the fray for their next event. Come on team India!
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