Kidambi Srikanth put on a dominant display to secure his third Super Series title by beating China’s Chen Long 22-20, 21-16 to win the 2017 Australian Open final. This is Srikanth’s second consecutive title win in as many weeks after pocketing the Indonesia Open title last week.
Srikanth and Long started the match by engaging each other in long rallies, exploring each part of the court as they split the first six points of the game equally. And, Srikanth kept moving the Chinese back and forth on the court, a move that paid rich dividends as he opened up a 9-6 lead. Eventually, the Indian went into the mid-game interval with a two-point lead after a cross court smash. After the break, a couple of errors from Srikanth allowed Long to draw level at 11-all. A few errors crept into both player’s games which meant that no one was able to take a healthy lead. And the trend continued as both players were tied at 14-all and 15-all.
Though Srikanth managed to take a minor two-point lead at that stage, Long came back to tie the game at 17-all before eking out a two-point lead for himself with some incredible defence. But keeping with the trend of the game, Srikanth levelled things up at 19-all, before giving himself a game point opportunity after Long netted a return. Finally, although Long managed to force extra points with a crosscourt winner, the Indian managed to pocket the first game at 22-20 after Long netted another return.
The second game started with an incredibly long rally that Srikanth won with a smash down the line. And that set the tone for the Indian’s early dominance as he raced to a 4-1 lead. However, the reigning Olympic champion was not the one to go down without a fight as he tied back the game up at 6-all. A successful challenge from Long saw him take the lead for the first time in the game at 7-6, but the Indian came back fighting and went into the break with an 11-9 lead, after some aggressive play.
After the break, a pinpoint smash down the line saw Srikanth extend his lead to three points. And though, the Chinese picked up a couple of points, a cross-court drop shot saw the Indian establish a 14-11 lead. Srikanth continued his dominance in the game as he took the game to Long with some incredible offensive shots. And the reigning World Champion was visibly overwhelmed by Srikanth’s style of play as he started making uncharacteristic errors. After that, it was only a matter of time before Srikanth sealed his second Super Series title in as many weeks and it was made certain when a shot from Chen Long landed out, to give Srikanth the second game with the score at 21-16.
Kidambi Srikanth or Chen Long? Who will win?
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