Srikanth Kidambi defeated the World and Olympic champion China’s Chen Long in the finals of the Australia Open Superseries in Sydney. He won the match in straight sets to establish his supremacy 22-20 21-16. This was Kidambi’s third consecutive Superseries final appearance after the Singapore Open in April and the Indonesia Open last week.
With this win, he has now become the first Indian to be ranked 1 in the Destination Dubai Rankings. Currently World No.11 he is now only the second most successful Indian in Superseries. Indian veteran Saina Nehwal tops the list with her 10 Superseries titles, two of them being the Australian Open. He also became the first Indian to win consecutive Superseries titles jumping 11 ranks in the BWF rankings in the meanwhile. He won the Indonesian Open defeating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai in straight sets on the 18th of June. Following on his great form from the Singapore Open where he was defeated in the finals by his compatriot Sai Praneeth, he has shown an incredible growth in confidence to win these consecutive titles.
On the way to the finals of the Indonesia Open and now the Australia Open, Kidambi thrashed the World No.1 Korea’s Son Wan Ho twice which is an unbelievable feat for the youngster. He had a dreadful head to head score of 5-0 with his finals’ opponent Chen Long before this. But never to doubt his form, he emerged across all odds to become the first Indian man to win the title.
The match was very well fought by both the players but Kidambi edged a bit ahead as he took a lead of 10-6 in the first set. But Long responded well by taking the next three points and looking to equalise. The set went into the break with the indian leading 11-9. The situation turn heads after the break as Long managed to equalise and take the lead showing a much aggressive play. But this followed by him making a couple of errors to hand the lead back to the Indian. The game thereon was fairly close and went into deuce after Kidambi lost his game point. But not giving up, he managed to bag the next two points to take the set.
The second set too saw Kidambi take an early lead with 6-2. Long then trying to make an attempt to turn the lead stuck to long shots pushing his opponent back. His strategy worked fine as he took the next five points due to Kidambi’s errors to run into a 7-6 lead. But this did not last long enough as he then lost the lead at the break 11-9. Kidambi then did not give away any possible chances to the Chinese as he maintained his lead to 19-16. Long then made a service error which was a definitive signal of the Indian winning. Kidambi did no mistakes in converting the first match point and prevailed in straight sets.
Other Indians in the tournament did not find as good fate. Both Women’s singles shuttlers Saina and Sindhu had lost their quarter final matches. Sindhu lost to World No.1 Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying 21-10 20-22 16-21 whereas Saina was defeated by China’s Sun Yu 21-17 10-21 21-17. Kidambi defeated Sai Praneeth in an all Indian quarters to make it to the semis where he faced China’s Shi Yuki.
Indian Men’s performance in the 2017 Superseries has been exemplary as compared to the history. Sai Praneeth winning in Singapore followed by Kidambi in Indonesia and Australia. Another Indian HS Prannoy reached the semis of the Indonesian Open. Also Ajay Jayaram currently ranks 15th in the BWF rankings.