Badminton: Srikanth faces Praneeth in Singapore Open final

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Singapore, April 15 (IANS) Men’s singles shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and B. Sai Praneeth on Saturday registered easy wins in the semi-finals of the $350,000 Singapore Open, marking the first instance of an all-India final in a Superseries event to be fought here on Sunday.

World No.29 Srikanth registered a thumping 21-13, 21-14 win over No.26 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in 42 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

In the other semi-final, world No.30 Praneeth smashed past South Korean 35th-ranked Lee Dong Keun 21-6, 21-8 in 38 minutes to sail into the final.

Though Srikanth is a bigger name than Praneeth, having won the 2014 China Superseries Premier and 2015 India Superseries and a quarter-final appearance at the Rio Olympics, the latter has a 4-1 head-to-head record. Srikanth will not be happy facing an opponent who knows his game and someone who has got the better of him so many times.

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But Srikanth has the big-game experience that will give him an added advantage.

During the semi-final, Srikanth showed his experience against Ginting. He was trailing 4-9 in the first game and then he registered an emphatic 10 points on the trot in a display of aggressive badminton. Ginting couldn’t recover from this as he conceded the first game.

In the second game, Srikanth continued his high jump smashes as he raced to a 9-1 lead. Ginting tried his best to came near Srikanth but it proved to be difficult. The closest Ginting came was at 14-16. But the Indian snatched five points on the trot to seal the game.

Sai Praneeth was on a roll in the second semi-final. Keun looked a bit tired and couldn’t move well, while Praneeth rocked winners consistently.

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A 10-1 lead in the first game paved the way to a 21-6 win, while in the second game it was almost a similar show as the Indian cantered home to a 21-8 triumph.

Meanwhile, the women’s singles title will be a contest between Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

–IANS

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