FRENCH OPEN 2017 SF – Magical Srikanth!

Srikanth Kidambi proved once more he was in Olympian form, as he qualified for his second final in a row, while Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu completely outplayed world #1 […]

Srikanth Kidambi proved once more he was in Olympian form, as he qualified for his second final in a row, while Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu completely outplayed world #1 and World Champions, Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Super Srikanth

The Indian genius Srikanth Kidambi (pictured top) qualified for his second final in a row – after he won the Denmark Open Premier last week – this time overcoming a tenacious Prannoy H. S. in his semi-final battle at the .

Completely control of the first game, Prannoy H. S. (pictured right) faced major difficulties to conclude in the following game, despite being in a safe lead to seal the encounter.  Indeed, his opponent Srikanth Kidambi found the loophole to make a beautiful comeback to send the match to a rubber.

The third was a mind game.  The two friends once more fought like no one, but the nightmare scenario happened again for Prannoy, who saw his compatriot pacing the rallies to grab five points in a row, and with them the precious ticket to the final.

Srikanth played really well today.  I don’t think I played badly.  I just felt he took the right chances at the right time,” admitted an obviously disappointed Prannoy who, despite the loss, displayed some of his best badminton in Paris.

It was a great performance that Srikanth Kidambi didn’t miss the chance to comment on: “He really played well.  The second and third game were pretty close.  It could have gone either way.  He played well during the whole tournament.”

Srikanth definitely found it difficult to fight against his compatriot and friend, at such an important stage of the competition: “It’s always tricky when you play against a fellow player who you train with 365 days.  It’s always tough but today both of us played well, and luckily I got the last crucial three points but until 18 he was playing really well,” added the Indian star.

The world #4 is now scheduled for the final where he will have to go through Kenta Nishimoto (pictured left), the young Japanese player who got rid of the up-and-coming Danish player, Anders Antonsen in straight games.

Ayo Indonesia!

Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (pictured right) played the perfect match to defeat new world #1s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.  The newly formed Indonesian pair, used a flawless tactics and strategy for their first encounter together against the current World Champions.

Compare to the score, it was not such an easy match, as we also struggled on our side and also because they are the World Champions, so I guess today our play and mentality was very smooth.  They could do nothing today,” laughed the always friendly Greysia Polii.

The Indonesian pair will now have another hurdle, the recently unbeatable Korean pair of Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, who have not lost even a single game in two weeks.  Lee and Shin crushed Japan’s Matsumoto and Naghara in their semi-final, which was a repeat – matchup and result – of the U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold final in July.  The newly reformed Korea pair are thus going for their third straight title together.

The other Indonesians who qualified to compete again on finals day were legends Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad (pictured bottom).  They will fight against Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen, with the winner of this World Championship final rematch able to claim a second title in the city of love.

Finals line-up
WD:  Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu (INA) vs. Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR)
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA)
MS:  Srikanth Kidambi (IND) [8] vs. Kenta Nishimoto (JPN)
WS:  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [1] vs. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [5]
MD:  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] vs. Lee Jhe Huei / Lee Yang (TPE) [7]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Tarek Hafi