India’s star badminton player Kidambi Srikanth continued his superb form by winning his second successive Super Series title with a stunning straight-game triumph over reigning Olympic and world champion Chen Long in the Australian Open final in Sydney on Sunday morning. Ranked number 11, Srikanth won the 45-minute long match 22-20, 21-16 against Long who is ranked number 6 and is also the current All England Champion. Srikanth, who had reached the summit clash in Singapore and Indonesia before this tournament, is only the fifth player in the world to contest three successive Super Series finals.
Continuing his great form, Srikanth took the early lead in the final, He capitalised on his opponent’s rather sluggish game to clinch a 10-6 lead. However, Long made a spirited comeback to level the score 11-11. The Chinese player was quick on baseline strokes and added pace to his game. Srikanth responded well and came up with some brilliant smashes to take a lead of 17-15. Even though the first game went very close, Srikanth held his nerves to clinch the set.
The second game was no different as Srikanth once again clinched the first point and took the lead to 6-3. However, Srikanth seemed determined to end his winless streak against his fancied rival and led 11-9 at the break of the second game. He continued the dominance till the end and won the set 21-16 to lift the title. The triumph was a morale-boosting jinx-breaker for Srikanth, who had lost all his previous five encounters to Long.
Reacting to this win, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma announced Rs 5 lakh cash reward for Kidambi Srikanth, reported ANI. Earlier in the day, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appreciated Srikanth for his recent achievements during his Mann Ki Baat episode.