New world No 4 Kidambi Srikanth entered a remarkable fifth Superseries final in this calendar year and seventh overall after beating compatriot HS Prannoy in three games in the semi-finals of the French Open. The 24-year-old now has a chance to win his fourth Superseries title of the year and second successive one .
Kidambi became the first male Indian to reach the final of the French Open. The eight seeded Indian won the semis 14-21, 21-19, 21-18 in a match that lasted about an hour. Earlier, in the women’s singles semi-final, PV Sindhu failed to cross her Japanese hurdle as she was knocked out of the French Open in straight games. Sindhu lost her semi-final match 14-21, 9-21 to Akane Yamaguchi in a match that lasted 37 minutes.
Having already completed a hat-trick of Super Series titles, Srikanth will be aiming to win his fourth title of the season. He will meet Kenta Nishimoto of Japan, who defeated Anders Antonsen 21-17, 21-15 in the other semi-final.
Srikanth did not start the match well as Prannoy took a 7-3 lead to begin the first game. The Guntur lad fought back briefly to take a 10-8 lead before Prannoy launched a fightback to take the first game easily 21-14.
The second game was a tight affair with both players going neck and neck. Prannoy had a 19-17 lead towards the end and was only two points away from clinching the match. However, Srikanth fought back to win four straight points to take the game 21-19 and force a decider .
Going in the third and decisive game, Srikanth looked confident as he held a comfortable lead. But then again Prannoy earned quick points and left Srikanth trailing. Most of the third game transpired in the same fashion with the same result as well. Srikanth took important points at crucial junctures of the game to throw Prannoy off his game and enter the final of the tournament.
Earlier, PV Sindhu had a below-par outing as Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi beat the World Championship silver medallist 21-14 21-9 in a thoroughly one-sided semi-final to set up a summit clash against world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who defeated China’s He Bingjao in three games in the other semi-final.
Sindhu and Yamaguchi went neck-and-neck to begin the match until the score was tied 14-14 in the first game. From here, Yamaguchi unleashed a flurry of smashes to which Sindhu had no response, as the Japanese won seven straight points to take the first game 21-14.
The second game was a completely one-sided affair as Yamaguchi straightaway went 5-0 up and at mid-break she led 11-2 and never looked back. It took fifth seed Yamaguchi only 37 minutes to blow away the Indian challenge in the last four clash. The Olympic silver medallist was sluggish in her movement as Yamaguchi, with her powerful smashes, did not allow Sindhu to settle in the game
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