JAKARTA: Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth was at his ruthless best as he defeated Japanese Sakai Kazumasa in straight games and clinch the men’s singles title at the Indonesian Open Superseries Premier here on Sunday.
Srikanth made short work of Sakai 21-11, 21-19 in the final which lasted barely 37 minutes at the Jakarta Convention Centre. The Indian pocketed $75,000 for the triumph.
Srikanth had stunned South Korean world No 1 Son Wan Ho in the semifinal. It was the 24-year-old Guntur player’s third Superseries title after the victories in the 2014 China Open and 2015 India Open. It was also Srikanth’s second successive and fourth Superseries final overall.
The first game between the two unseeded players was a cakewalk for Srikanth, who kept himself focused to fire in winners after winners.
With his smashes falling in place, he raced to an 8-5 lead and then built the lead at 19-9. The Japanese resisted for a couple of points before conceding the first game at 11-21.
The second game started in favour of the Japanese as he took an 11-6 lead at the mid-game breather. Srikanth seemed to have lost focus, leading to couple of misjudgements and mishits.
After the break, Srikanth, with his height giving him an added advantage, made a comeback to take a 14-13 advantage riding on his sizzling and powerful smashes.
But the 27-year-old Sakai didn’t flinch and two quick retrievals and sharp movements gave him a two-point lead at 17-15.
The game still failed to find a breather. Both the shuttlers alternately took the lead until the Indian converted the 19-19 equaliser. He then fired two cross-court high jump smashes to win the game 21-19 and clinch the championship.
Srikanth was the only Indian player who made it to the final, a day after compatriot H.S. Prannoy went down to Sakai in the semifinals.
The non-seeded Prannoy had defeated the defending champion Lee Chong Wei and Rio Olympics champion Chen Long to get to the semi-finals.
“The results have made us very proud. I am also proud of Prannoy who can make it to the semi-finals. We will work harder to prepare our players in further international tournaments in the future,” Xinhua news agency quoted India’s Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo as saying.
The women’s singles final saw unseeded Sayaka Sato of Japan upset South Korean world No.5 Sung Ji-hyun 21-13, 17-21, 21-14 in an hour and 18 minutes.
China’s women’s doubles players Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan defeated South Korea Chang Yena and Lee So he 21-19, 15-21, 21-10 in the final.