Swiss Open: Star shuttler Srikanth Kidambi makes it to first semifinals in 16 months : The Tribune India

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Swiss Open: Star shuttler Srikanth Kidambi makes it to first semifinals in 16 months

Registers 21-10, 21-14 win over World No. 34 Chia Hao Lee in 35 minutes

Swiss Open: Star shuttler Srikanth Kidambi makes it to first semifinals in 16 months

Star shuttler Kidambi Srikanth emerges as the lone Indian survivor at the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament. AP/PTI file



PTI

Basel, March 23

Star shuttler Kidambi Srikanth emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament when he progressed to the semifinals with a straight game win over Chinese Taipei’s Chia Hao Lee here.

Playing his eighth tournament this season, Srikanth dished out a calm and composed performance on way to a 21-10 21-14 win over world no. 34 Lee in 35 minutes on Friday night.

Guilty of throwing away matches from advantageous positions for too many times, Srikanth, who is now being coached by Parupalli Kashyap, finally seemed to have a hit a bit of form as he dished out a near flawless performance to outclass Lee.

With the win, Srikanth made his first final four appearance in 16 months. He last played a semifinal at Hylo Open in November 2022.

Srikanth, a 2021 world championships silver medallist, will next face Chinese Taipei’s world no. 22 Lin Chun-Yi later on Saturday.

While the 31-year-old from Guntur stayed on track for a first title in many years, it turned out to be a heartbreaking affair for Kiran George as his gallant fight ended with a 23-21 17-21 15-21 loss to Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke in another quarterfinal.

Another upcoming Indian Priyanshu Rajawat also found Chou Tien Chen too hot to handle, going down 15-21 19-21 in a 43 minute clash at the St Jakobshalle stadium.

Srikanth, who has often drowned in a pool of errors by over-hitting or spraying wide while going for his flamboyant smashes, cut his mistakes and looked to outwit his opponent at the net.

His dazzling net play helped him to jump to a 8-1 lead before entering the break with an 11-5 lead. He kept things under tight grip to quickly grab a massive 10 game points and converted on the second chance.

After the change of ends, the things started on a tight note as Lee briefly held a 7-5 and 8-7 lead but it was short-lived as Srikanth again marched ahead to take a 11-8 cushion at the interval.

Lee managed to cut down the deficit to 12-14 before Srikanth pulled away to shut the doors on his rival.

As someone, who claimed four Super Series titles in the monumental 2017 season, Srikanth has failed to consistently weave a string of performance in a week though he managed to win the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver and the 2021 World Championships silver.

His exploits as a second singles player fashioned India’s epic Thomas Cup win two years ago but he has suffered meltdowns since, the latest being the Asia Team Championships where he blew a healthy lead against Japan’s Kento Momota.

On Saturday night, Srikanth will hope to get across Lin to line himself up for a title but even if he doesn’t, the week will give him a lot of confidence and it will augur well for India when the men’s team defends its Thomas Cup crown next month.

#China #Kidambi Srikanth


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