Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth booked his place in the Indonesia Open Super Series Badminton tournament finals after producing a spectacular performance to defeat Son Wan Ho of South Korea in an intense semi-final contest here in Jakarta on Saturday.
In a gruelling last-four contest that lasted for 73 minutes, Srikanth defeated the second-seed 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 to set up the summit clash against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.
The Indian shuttler took the lead by winning the first game against Wan Ho with a comfortable 21-15. The South Korean number one came back in the second game with a 21-14 dominating win over Srikanth. The final game proved to be close one as both shuttlers matched each other point for point until the 24-year old Srikanth sealed the game at the fourth match point at 24-22.
Earlier in the other semi-finals match, Japanese shuttler Sakai defeated India’s HS Prannoy 21-17, 26-28, 18-21 in a gruelling last-four contest that lasted for one hour and sixteen minutes to enter the finals.
The Indian shuttler, who had stunned World and Olympic Champion Chen Long of China to enter the semifinals, won the first game 21-17 but his Japanese opponent came out with a more aggressive approach in the second game to build an early lead.
However, Prannoy stuck to his natural game and clawed his way back to take an 18-17 lead. From then on the lead kept shuttling between the two till the Japanese edged out the mammoth game 28-26.
Sakai, who is ranked 20 places lower to Prannoy, came out strong in the final game and built a healthy lead. However, the Indian came back again and took the lead which Sakai, holding on is nerves in the final stages, won the game 21-18 to seal the final berth.
Both Prannoy and Sakai were appearing in their first Super Series semi-final. Their only previous meeting was at the Indonesia Open in 2013, where Sakai won 21-13, 14-21, 21-17.