Kidambi Srikanth Singles Out Axelsen Win as Turning Point of Denmark Open Triumph
The lanky Dane has always been Srikanth's nemesis in the big tournaments, and the latter somehow used to find a way to succumb under pressure against Axelsen. But in their latest meeting, the Guntur lad turned the tables on his opponent
A file photo of Kidambi Srikanth during the Denmark Open. (AFP)
New Delhi: Kidambi Srikanth might have won the Denmark Open, to pocket his third Superseries Premier event, but what might have been more satisfying is that, en route title he could get the better of current world no. 1 Victor Axelsen, that too in front of his home crowd.
The lanky Dane has always been Srikanth's nemesis in the big tournaments, and the latter somehow used to find a way to succumb under pressure against Axelsen. But in their latest meeting, the Guntur lad turned the tables on his opponent. After being a game down, Srikanth recovered beautifully to win the match 14-21, 22-20, 21-7.
What that victory would have meant for Srikanth is beyond's any fans' imagination. Even the champion shuttler struggled for words when asked to describe his feeling after winning the match. "I am very relaxed after winning. In our last match at the Japan Open, he beat me in straight games. So I did not want to commit same kind of errors again. But unfortunately, he won the first game. Then of course I tried to create some pressure on him, and that worked. The hard work of the second game, showed results in the third, where I convincingly took the game and the match. So all-in-all it's a great feeling," Srikanth told CNN News 18 from Odense.
Also, that match, perhaps was an early indication that Srikanth is not heading home without winning the tournament. And that is exactly what happened. Post the quarters against Axelsen, Srikanth made short work of Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki Vincent 21-18, 21-17, in the semis, and massacred Lee Hyun Il of Korea 21-10, 21-5, in the finals.
Lee Hyun Il, the 37-year-old Korean veteran, who emerged in the tournament as the giant-killer, and ousted Chen China's Long in the first round, and compatriot Son Wan Ho in the semifinals, looked good for giving another tough fight, but was no match for high-on-confidence Srikanth.
Srikanth had a valid explanation for the lack of fight by the Korean in the final. "I think Lee played really well in the tournament, and has had some really good results. His match against Son Wan Ho in the finals lasted for 90 minutes, so probably he couldn't recover for the finals. But he showed that, he still has it in him to topple the world's best," Srikanth concluded.
In a nutshell, this title win has established Srikanth as the top-contender for the year-ending Dubai World Superseries Finals, and a one that every player would be wary of.
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