Two Hyderabadi shuttlers create sensation in China

  • Srikant, Saina win Chinese Open Singles titles for men & women
  • Indian youngster beats his hero Lin Dan in straight games
  • Saina wins her third title of 2014

Haixia Olympic Sports Centre (China), November 16: Two Hyderabadis created a sensation here on Sunday by bagging both the China Open Singles titles for women and men. Kadambi Srikant has scored an upset win over his role model and source of inspiration Lin Dan, the don of world shuttle badminton. Five time World Champion Dan, the Chinese shuttler, was beaten by the young Indian in straight games and created history to be written in gold. The achievement of Srikant overshadowed the equally great win by Sixth World Ranker Saina Nehwal who won the China Women’s Open Singles beating a relatively junior player Akane Yamaguchi, World Number 35.

The most sensational upset was suffered by the number one shuttler in the world, Lin Dan. The 21-year old Hyderabadi has kept his cool at critical junctures and outsmarted the smartest player in the world. “Playing Dan in his backyard in a final match has been my childhood dream”, said Srikant before he took on the giant. He not only realized his dream but went ahead and defeated his hero in his third encounter with him. Srikant, ranked number 16 in the world, played excellently in the beginning racing to 9-4 before the legendary Chinese player came back strongly squaring at 15. While at 19-all, the youngster held his nerve and score two successive points to clinch the game 21-19. Dan elevated his game in his inimitable style in the second game making it a serious affair. However, the Indian matched each and every stroke of the player who is often described as the greatest ever shuttler taking the score to 15-all. He then went on to score six out of the next eight points to record a dream win. The face of the Hyderabadi was glowing with happiness and excitement when he beat the top player in the world in the latter’s home country.

Before the greatest upset, Saina made a mince meat of the 17-year-old Japanese player Akane who gave some anxious moments in the second game. The first game for the Indian was a cake walk with little resistance from the Japanese. She scored seven successive points at one time to lead the game 15-7. She easily clinched the issue with 21-12. But in the second game, the Japanese girl resisted and took the score to 20-all. Saina had to depend on her international experience and summon reserve energy to check the Japanese and win the second game 22-20 denying the latter a chance to upset by scoring at breakpoint at 20-19. It was the first Chinese Open title for Saina. She earlier won the Australian Super Series title in June and the India Golden Prix in January making the tally three titles in one year-2014.

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