The World no. 24 Srikanth Kidambi made his way to his second consecutive Super Series final after he defeated World No.1 Korea’s Sun Wan Ho in the semis 21-15, 14-21, 24-22. The match lasted for an hour and twelve minutes with drastic ups and downs throughout the match. Another Indian and World No.25 HS Prannoy faced a hard-fought defeat against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai 17-21, 28-26, 21-18 in the semis failing to qualify further.
Kidambi had faced his compatriot Sai Praneeth in the Singapore Super Series last month where he had suffered a loss. He will next face Sakai on the 18th the finals which could be his first Super Series title in 2 years.
The day did not start well for India as it began with Prannoy’s heartfelt loss. But Kidambi went up for what could be said as a sweet revenge. Though he lost the second set, he managed to clinch the decider after losing one match point and thus took the match.
The match started with Kidambi’s flamboyant shots and smashes in the first set to overcome the vigour of his opponent. He took a comfortable 5 point lead till the break and the set did not see a comeback from the top seed. But this nature of his play was what came to trouble him in the second set. He was sailing towards a victory with a 13-10 lead when the turn-around came. He then lost a series of points to the Korean credits to misguided unforced errors. This made him lose 11 of the next 12 points and he lost the set 21-14.
The third set too looked like slipping away from his hands after he was down at the break. But picking up pace finally he maintained his composure to reduce the errors. He missed a match point initially but did not lose his nerve and held a one-point lead to finally convert it into a 24-22 win.
Unfortunately, Prannoy could not meet similar fate earlier in the day battling against Sakai. He took the first set rather comfortably never looking to give away the lead. The second set did not start well and he was 6 points down at the break. But he recovered and equalised at 19-all before taking his first match point at 20-19. This was the moment he could have grabbed the match. But the Japanese had other ideas. Defending well, Sakai managed to waiver 5 match points of the Indian and finally converted his 3rd game point. The set lasted for nearly half an hour and quite literally drove all the audience to the edge of their seats.
Recovering from an injury after 3 months Prannoy’s stamina for the third set did not look to be in place. He looked drained at the break but had to continue with the fight. His efforts were commendable as he dragged the Japanese to just a 2 point lead before finally losing it 21-18.