From a Correspondent
New Delhi, March 31,
Kidambi Srikanth remained on course for a second title by entering the final of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2019, a BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, here on Saturday. The 2015 champion was made to work hard by the 30th ranked Huang Yuxiang before he could pull off a gritty 16-21, 21-14, 21-19 win in 1 hour 4 minutes.
This is Srikanth’s first final on the BWF circuit since the French Open in October of 2017.
The former winner was troubled early on by Yuxiang’s speed, quick change of direction and superior net play, despite having a 3-1 edge in their head-to-head record. From 14-14, the Chinese went up to 19-14 due to unforced errors from the home hope. Srikanth did save a couple of game points but his effort fell short as Yuxiang wrapped up the opener 21-16.
Amid deafening cheers from the crowd, the World No. 7 started showing flashes of his aggression in the early part of the second game and built a 7-4 lead. By regularly finding the lines, the India No. 1 held on to go up to 13-6 and kept up the same approach to close out the second game 21-14.
Srikanth broke away from a deadlock in the third game to inch ahead to 11-10 but errors at the net proved costly as Yuxiang grabbed 3 points on the trot to go up to 13-11.
The former World No. 1 then found his firepower from a 14-17 deficit to draw level at 18-18 and then a beautiful touch at the net helped him finish the win.
“I gave too many easy points after that 11-point break in the third set. In the end, I was just thinking I was playing safe and working hard for every point,” said Srikanth after the victory. “Even yesterday, I lost the first set. I have not been able to pull out the first sets but really happy I was able to pull out third sets,” added the top-ranked Indian.
Intanon back in the final after 3 years
Thailand’s former world champion Ratchanok Intanon survived a tough duel with the seventh seed Han Yue, eking out a 21-15, 19-21, 21-18 win in 1 hour 6 minutes. For the highly popular Thai, this is her fourth final at this prestigious tournament after earlier wins in 2013 and 2016. Her only loss came in 2015 against Saina Nehwal.
The women’s doubles section witnessed a mini-upset as the third seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean beat the second seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 18-21, 21-19, 21-19. They will take on the top seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu who needed three games to see off compatriots Della Destiara Haris and Tania Oktaviani Kusumah 21-9, 19-21, 21-5.
In mixed doubles, the top seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping set up a summit clash with fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti. The Chinese, winners of the BWF World Tour Finals title last year, beat fourth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-13, 21-16 while the Indonesians prevailed over Lee Yang and Yang Ching Tun 21-9, 23-21.
KIDAMBI Srikanth (IND) (3) bt HUANG Yuxiang (CHN) 16-21, 21-14, 21-19
INTANON Ratchanok (THA) (4) bt HAN Yue (CHN) (7) 21-15, 19-21, 21-18
CHOW/LEE (MAS) (3) bt KITITHARAKUL/PRAJONGJAI (THA) (2) 18-21, 21-19, 21-19
POLII/RAHAYU (INA) (1) bt HARIS/KUSUMAH (INA) 21-9, 19-21, 21-5
WANG/HUANG (CHN) (1) bt FAIZAL/WIDJAJA (INA) (4) 21-13, 21-16
JORDAN/OKTAVIANTI (INA) (5) bt LEE/YANG (TPE) 21-9, 23-21