Playing his maiden super series final for the Singapore Open title, Sai bounced back strongly to beat sparring partner K. Srikanth in a historic all-India final for a first major global title on Sunday.
Yesterday (April 15), former World No. 3 Srikanth notched up a 21-13, 21-14 win over World No. 26 and 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia to reach the 3rd Super Series final of his career. And the 24-year-old from Hyderabad made it a memorable one in his first ever appearance in a Super Series final. I played a few shots that caught Srikanth off guard.
"I have trained for one and a half month continuously".
But playing tentatively in the opening game, it appeared that Sai Praneeth might falter when it mattered again.
With this win on Sunday, Praneeth took his head-to-head record against his more experienced rival Srikanth to 5-1.
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"I think I started really well, and also in the second game I had a good four-five points lead but I couldn t capitalise on it and I think that really made the difference".
Sai enlarged the lead to 16-8 and after some last-ditch resistance from Srikanth, won when the latter's down-the-line forehand smash found the middle of the tram-lines.
"I hope people can see from this tournament that not just Saina (Nehwal) or (P.V.) Sindhu can win, the men can win too". "It worked." Once he took the lead at 17-15, Praneeth never looked back as Srikanth blundered on his service and hit long.
Nearly equally matched in age and rankings, Praneeth and Srikanth, who train together under coach Gopichand at his academy in Hyderabad, were far from enthused by the prospect of playing each other in the final. He gathered many points on Praneeth's forehand with his brilliant returns.
In the women's finals, Tai Tzu Ying defeated World No.2 Carolina Marin to cement her No.1 position.