Indonesian Open: Indian shuttler Srikanth beats Wan Ho to enter final

Jakarta: Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth defeated World No.1 Son Wan Ho to enter the men’s singles final of the Indonesian open Superseries Premier after H.S. Prannoy faced defeat against Kazumasa Sakai in the first semi-final here on Saturday.

World No.22 Srikanth kept his nerves to win 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 against the South Korean Son. He will face Sakai in the final on Sunday at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC).

The first game looked a cake-walk for Srikanth — who won 21-15 over Son. The only point where Son looked a bit dangerous was when he came close 10-12 from 6-11 but failed to take advantage.

In the second set, 29-year-old Son made a come back after trailing 4-6 to rely on his deft net-game to equalise one game apiece with a 21-14 win.

The final game remained stiff till the very end with none of the shuttlers giving any space to the opponents. Son edged ahead with a 13-10 lead but Srikanth kept firing winners to equalise at the 14-point mark and even held a point lead.

But Son didn’t flinch and kept rallying hard till the end to find crucial points. With the match reaching a tipping point in terms of intensity at 20-all, both the shuttlers felt the heat. While Srikanth banged a smash at the net, Son erred in hitting long. But the Indian kept his nerve to edge past Son and win 24-22.

In the final, Srikanth will eye his third Superseries title after victories in the 2014 China Open and the 2015 India Open.

Earlier, Prannoy’s dream run was halted by unseeded Sakai, who came back from a game down to win 21-17, 26-28, 18-21, and seal his berth in the final on Sunday.

Prannoy, who defeated multiple Olympic and World Championships medallists Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long in the last two matches, on Saturday dominated the opening game with a 8-3 lead.

The Indian continued to lead for the rest of the game and won it in 19 minutes after Sakai saved two game points.

The Japanese bounced back well into the second game to open up a 11-5 lead by the break before Prannoy fought back to draw level at 18-18, but failed to convert five match point opportunities as Sakai won the game in 32 minutes.

The decider saw Sakai marching ahead with a 6-2 lead which he extended to 11-9 at the changeover. After the breather, World No. 47 Sakai continued to dominate the third game, opening up a six point lead at 17-11.

Prannoy managed to narrow the deficit to two points at 17-19 but Sakai converted his second match point opportunity to win in one hour and 17 minutes.

“Well not my day I guess. Served 5 match points but not lucky enough to get a finals birth. Thank you everyone for the support this week,” Prannoy said after the defeat. (IANS)

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