India’s ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth outclassed China’s Huang Yuxiang 16-21, 21-14, 21-19 on Saturday to enter the final of the 2019 India Open badminton tournament.
Earlier, in a riveting all-India encounter, 2015 champion Srikanth edged past Sai Praneeth 21-23, 21-11, 21-19 in one hour and two minutes for just his third win in eight meetings over the former Swiss Open runner-up on Friday.
After Praneeth built an early lead of 5-2, Srikanth cut down on his errors and drew level at 13-13 only to concede an 18-14 advantage. The former champion did save three game points but Praneeth held on to close out the game 23-21.
Though Praneeth raced to a 7-1 lead in the second game, it could not deter Srikanth who made a spirited comeback to inch ahead 15-11. He then won the next six points to take the game 21-11.
In the decider, Praneeth took a 13-10 lead, but Srikanth’s patience brought him back into contention. In a tense ending, Srikanth’s lob at 19-19 landed right on the backline to give him a match point which he duly converted.
“After losing the first set and trailing 1-7 in the second, coming back to take a 8-7 lead was the turning point,” said Srikanth after the match.
“After 1-1, I gave him too many one stroke points and there were no rallies. So I thought to build rallies and fight it out for every point and not to concede any easy point,” he added.