After winning his fourth Superseries of the year, Kidambi Srikanth is all set to secure the No.1 ranking if he wins the China Open later this month. Srikanth has now attained a career-best ranking of 2 and can become the first Indian since Prakash Padukone to secure the top rank in men's badminton.
The 23-year-old Guntur lad has been in magnificent form of late and not only has he found a place in the elite company by winning four Superseries events in a year, he also rose to the World No. 2 position which made him the fourth Indian after Prakash Padukone, Saina Nehwal, and PV Sindhu to reach that level.
Srikanth is now competing at the National Championships in Nagpur for the first time since the 2013 edition when he was crowned the national champion. After that win, he went on to grow exponentially as a player and it culminated
His competition - World Champion Viktor Axelsen. The Dane has recently emerged as Srikanth's arch nemesis and taken the world of badminton by storm after beating the legendary Lin Dan in the bronze medal play-off at the Rio Olympics. Axelsen brought that form into 2017 and emerged as the new pin-up star in World badminton, winning the India Open and the Japan Open Superseries to go with a gold medal at the BWF World Championships in Glasgow. His success not only helped him re-establish the Danish dominance in the sport, it also made him the top-ranked player in the BWF World rankings for the first time ever.
Here are the scenarios that may affect Srikanth's chances of becoming the No.1.
Srikanth – Champion, Axelsen – Runners-up
If the Indian does manage to secure his third consecutive Superseries title of the year, in Beijing, then he doesn’t have to rely on any outside chances to secure the Numero Uno spot in the world rankings. By achieving his second China Open, his seventh over-all, Srikanth will increase his points tally to 81,743 and Axelsen, on the other hand, will have to be satisfied with 79,580 points if he makes it to the final. So, it is a pretty straightforward equation for the Guntur-born lad – win the tournament and return home with not only yet another gold medal but with the No.1 ranking as well.
Axelsen – Champion; Srikanth – Runners-up
After Srikanth’s victory at the French Open - a tournament that the Dane had decided to skip – Srikanth has taken his tally to 73,403 rating points and as a result, now, he has only 4,527 points behind Axelsen, who has now 77,930 points. But if Axelsen brings back his Japan Open form to the China Open, where he is yet to reach a final, and crowned as the champions, then he will accumulate a total of 81,230 points. In that case, even if Srikanth reaches the final, he will get a total of 80,093 points and will have to wait for the Hong Kong Open to overtake the Dane.
Axelsen - Runners-up, Srikanth – Semi-finalist
This won’t help Srikanth’s cause at all as Axelsen will end up with 79,580 points at the end of the tournament whereas Srikanth will reach 78,443 points. Srikanth will still remain at the World No.2 position. However, given Srikanth's recent form, he will hope to reach the final to become the new World No.1.
Axelsen- Semifinalist, Srikanth – semifinalist
If this scenario comes up, then Srikanth will be able to leapfrog the Dane to claim the World No.1 title for the first time in his career. While Axelsen is defending the 7,700 points he had won last year, Srikanth doesn’t have any concerns like that and will reach 78,443 points which will be enough to overcome Axelsen, who will remain static at 77,930 points and will be demoted to the No. 2 position.
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